When a parent dies, the adult children who are left behind might slip into a chaotic legal battle over the division of assets. These battles can produce long-term hard feelings as well as mounting legal bills. However, some pre-planning by the parents can help reduce or even prevent these probate battles that might drag on for months or even years after their death.
Even if parents have not accumulated a vast fortune, it’s highly advised that they create an estate plan that can clearly outline in detail what they want to leave to their heirs. Having a plan in place in regard to their home, business, financial assets and other tangibles takes out the guesswork for an executor and ensures that surviving children aren’t left to battle for what they believe should be theirs in a court of law.
While parents can take great legal steps to ensure that the probate process is streamlined, there are still ways that the wishes of a deceased parent can be challenged by any heirs in their will. While there are options to use a third-party mediator to navigate through this process, it’s highly advised that heirs work with an attorney to navigate the probate process.
A parent who dies without a will is referred to as intestate. In these cases, there is much more room for probate litigation to take place after the death, which can lead to even more legalities that must be sorted through.
An individual who is listed as an heir to an estate, or believes they have a legal claim to assets of an estate, may want to work with a probate litigation attorney. This attorney may review the details of the will in question, gather information about the deceased’s estate and take other steps to ensure that their client gets what rightfully belongs to them after a parent’s death.