The rights of family members after a loved one’s death

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Will Disputes |

Some people in Pennsylvania may find themselves in dispute with a loved one’s spouse over an estate plan. This was the case for one woman in South Carolina. Her 93-year-old father had been married for four years. He had dementia, and his 91-year-old wife said his two daughters had no right to his property.

The man did not make a will prior to his dementia diagnosis, and after being diagnosed with it, he could not do so. In making decisions about the man’s situation, his wife consulted her friends instead of his daughters. The daughters were unsure about their rights in this situation.

Family members who are concerned about a loved one in a situation like this might want to consult an attorney. If no abuse is occurring, it might be best to wait until the loved one’s death to address the issue of property division. If a person dies without a will, the court will appoint someone as the estate administrator. That could be the father’s wife in this case, but the daughters might contest it. Furthermore, under state law, if there is no will, children are still usually entitled to a portion of the estate. This may differ for assets that pass via beneficiary, such as retirement accounts.

Even if there is an estate plan in place, it can still be contested. An attorney might help with estate litigation and disputes. A will could be challenged for several reasons. For example, a person might try to demonstrate that a loved one was unduly influenced by another individual or that the loved one’s judgment was unsound when the estate plan was made. A person may want to contact an attorney if another family member is contesting the will.