Following a loved one’s death, the division of assets and belongings can sometimes cause contention. If there are disagreements between family members about the deceased’s intention for certain assets or the validity of the will, that results in an estate dispute.
There are a few avenues to resolve estate disputes following a loved one’s death.
When questions arise about the validity of the will or the deceased’s intentions, the easiest way to resolve those questions is with comprehensive documentation. The more information you can gather to support the validity of the will, including statements from the witnesses named on the will or details from anyone else present at the time, the better your chances of resolving the dispute.
Sometimes those who were closest to the deceased in their final years will have the most insight into their wishes. Reach out to anyone they were close to if necessary for more information about the deceased’s intentions.
If evidence and supporting information fails to resolve the dispute, you might consider mediation as a means to avoid probate court. Remember that everyone involved, even those contesting the will, all lost someone in this process. Everyone is likely still grieving, so consider mediation as a way to minimize the hostility and contention. The American Bar Association reports that mediation results in agreement and resolution at least 70% of the time.
Probate court can issue final rulings on estate disputes when necessary, but these resolution avenues offer ways to resolve the problem without having to go to court.