One of the most difficult tasks left to those left behind after the death of a loved one is the responsibility of settling his or her estate. The process of estate administration can be an emotionally challenging process, and it can be legally complicated as well if there are any issues that arise during the course of the administration procedure. Disputes, issues with assets and other challenges can lead to a dispute between Pennsylvania heirs and beneficiaries.
If you are the executor of an estate or you recently lost a loved one, you may wonder what you should expect from the estate administration process. It may be helpful to understand common reasons why disputes arise and what you can do to protect your rights if that happens. Estate disputes can be costly and stressful, but you have the right to take whatever legal steps are necessary to shield your rightful claim to estate property and other interests.
Reasons why there may be a dispute
One of the most common reasons why a dispute could arise during the estate administration process is because an interested party does not like the terms of the will or believes the terms do not represent the wishes of the decedent. Personality conflicts between family members and lingering resentment are also common reasons for disputes, as well as the following:
- The executor of the estate appears to have bias, show favoritism or act unfairly.
- Siblings who are at odds with each other jointly inherit property they will have to divide.
- There is suspicion that a beneficiary stole estate assets or is hiding assets.
- There are multiple executors, and they disagree on how to administer the estate.
When there are disputes and other issues during the estate administration process, it can lengthen the amount of time it will take to complete probate, settle remaining affairs, distribute assets and close the estate.
Protect yourself and your loved ones
Disputes during the estate administration process can cost you time and money. It is in your interests to know how to protect yourself in the event that an issue arises. While out-of-court resolutions are sometimes possible, litigation could be the most effective and reasonable way to settle the issue and eventually close the estate of your loved one. If you are facing a possible dispute over estate administration, you will benefit from seeking knowledgeable insight regarding your legal options.