Estate disputes occur when a loved one or parent dies without leaving behind a will, and finding a way to resolve these disputes is hectic. Dividing an estate is filled with challenges that cause a lot of emotional pain to already-grieving individuals. These challenges also break family ties, explaining why you should know how to solve them.
Families that aim to avoid drama after the death of their loved one have taken the necessary step of learning the best problem-solving techniques. Losing a loved one is trying, and an estate dispute will only worsen things. Below we discuss how to solve estate disputes.
Types of Disputes
The famous disputes deal with family provision claims and where there are executor disagreements. More than one executor can have a different opinion regarding a particular property, causing an estate dispute. Beneficiary disputes are common, and most families turn to the court for justice.
Below we discuss the main types of estate disputes and solve them.
- The Will Executor Takes Too Long
A crucial role for the will executor- the person chosen by the deceased to distribute and manage assets should acquire a Grant of Probate that lets them go ahead with the distribution plans. There is no specific timeframe of how long this process should take, but the executor should make an application within a year.
Executors are advised against delaying unreasonably since it makes the beneficiaries impatient. An unexplained delay by the executor might make the beneficiaries apply to the Supreme Court to get a specified timeframe.
- Beneficiaries Disagreement
A popular conflict area among beneficiaries is the property future, mainly the family home. Even though the deceased terms state in detail what they wished to be done on their property, it might become uncertain or vague to the beneficiaries. This causes frequent disagreement since some want to sell and others to keep the property.
The best solution to this problem is for the beneficiaries who wish to retain the house and use a professional value to determine the best amount to be paid. The agreement can be turned into a settlement deed.
Another contention among beneficiaries happens when they do not ascertain that the left inheritance meets their legitimate needs.
- Beneficiaries Think there are Unauthorized Asset Transfers.
Another prevalent issue occurs when estate beneficiaries believe the will executor made unauthorized transfers when the deceased was alive, reducing its general value. This mainly happens when a close deceased family member is given attorney power.
Suspicious beneficiaries mainly employ forensic accountants to check the financial records and ascertain whether there has been an unauthorized asset transfer from the estate. These assets will be restored if discovered, and the executor will be eliminated from their role.
How to Resolve Estate Disputes
Estate disputes are common today, and they occur when a loved one or parent dies. Many things cause these disputes, and the article below will discuss how to resolve them.
- Proper Estate Planning
The first way of avoiding estate disputes is by having the correct planning. A will outlines the property division clearly, and its validation prevents families from having unnecessary disagreements. The will also states why a parent decided to divide property unevenly, further preventing disputes.
A trust also adds an extra protection layer against death taxes and probate, which is easy to change, unlike a will. This feature is critical, especially if the estate owner decides to make last-minute will changes. Parents can also add an instruction letter to their planning documents, explaining further why they chose to divide assets in that manner.
- Use of a Mediator
Most estate disputes occur after the death of a loved one. The planning documents are already done by that time, meaning changing will not be necessary. Suppose beneficiaries and siblings disagree; the best step should be to look for a mediator.
Hiring a mediator is an affordable way to solve the differences using a neutral party while avoiding unnecessary drama. Mediators are cheaper than court battles and might be all that is needed to solve these issues.
- Liquidate the Assets
The leading cause of estate disputes is asset value. For example, if a particular child is allocated a family home, it can exceed items given to others, even when divided fairly. This can be challenging and causes family disputes.
The best way to solve this problem is by liquidating the assets and dividing the proceeds.
- Pick an Independent Fiduciary
Estate disputes can arise after a family member is listed as the trustee or executor. In such cases, this individual can refuse this appointment and pick an independent fiduciary, like a real estate attorney, to replace them. This ensures the property-division process is fair.
- Look for Ways to Divide Household Items
Most estate disputes happen due not to the item’s financial value but their sentimental value. Families should look for fair property division ways to avoid future conflicts. The best way to achieve this is by letting the children take turns picking items.
The children should all agree to a particular order, and the remaining items can be put on sale. This gives preference to the child picking first, and parents can share the disagreed items by writing them down.
- Consult a Real Estate Lawyer
Many families can solve estate disputes by getting help from a practicing real estate lawyer, but most beneficiaries act unethically. An estate planning lawyer helps families know different beneficiary rights, how to dispute a will, and working through the will contest.
Why you Should Work with a Real Estate Lawyer
An estate lawyer has your interests at heart, and you should consider working with one. These lawyers have the following benefits;
- Survey and research to know the best tactics to get the right property
- They also offer professional legal advice to increase your winning chances.
Estate disputes are common and occur after the death of a loved one. Lack of a will is the leading cause of these disputes, and the above article has discussed how to avoid these disputes.