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What could go wrong during probate?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Probates & Trusts

If you have a will, your estate will have to go through probate before being distributed to your heirs. It is a court-controlled process that involves verifying the validity of your will, identifying the estate’s assets, and paying taxes and creditors before dividing the remainder to the beneficiaries per the will.

While it sounds like a straightforward process, probate does not always go smoothly. Issues may arise and lead to unnecessary delays, hurting the beneficiaries. Here are common problems you need to anticipate.

Will contests

A will contest is a real possibility when one of the beneficiaries is not satisfied with their inheritance. For instance, they may have reasons to believe that the will was created under duress or fraudulently.

If a will is successfully contested, the court will nullify it and declare it void. The estate will then have to be distributed according to state laws.

Problems with the executor

The person appointed to oversee the probate process may not want to take up the role anymore, or they may lack the capacity. Here, the court will have to pick someone else to do the job.

Alternatively, the executor chosen may fail to fulfill whatever is expected of them in their role. The executor of an estate should always act in its best interests and that of the beneficiaries. However, they may seek to selfishly benefit themselves when overseeing the probate process or neglect their duties of consolidating assets and paying off the estate’s debts.

Location of assets

Some estate assets named in the will may be hard to locate, especially if the information provided was insufficient. Locating them may be time-consuming, and the probate process may not proceed as planned.

Avoiding problems in the probate process

Other things can go wrong, but the good news is that most of them are avoidable if you are well prepared. Therefore, it is necessary to learn more about the bottlenecks to expect and how to prevent them.