Will contests and other litigation during administration of your estate or trust is very stressful to the parties, delays distribution, and greatly increases the costs. One might think that only estates with millions in assets suffer this burden, but it occurs in less affluent estates as well. While there is no crystal ball to predict which estate will be litigated, there are certain fact patterns that are common in contested estates.
1. The decedent was survived by children from a prior marriage and a spouse who is not a parent of the children.
2. The decedent's adult children still maintain their sibling rivalry.
3. Your beneficiaries and/or their spouses fight with each other.
4. A single elderly parent lives in another city than the children who have limited contact with the parent.
A single elderly person, like most any other, will seek companionship and assistance from those nearby. The person providing companionship may take advantage of the situation and wind up with the assets.
5. The person named as personal representative did not have the qualities to carry out the estate administration. The personal representative's failure to move forward in collecting the assets, paying the creditors, and making distribution to the beneficiaries, will generate litigation.
If you have any of these situations in your family, discuss them with your Miami wills and trusts lawyer so that protections can be implemented.