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Common Estate Disputes

Moses Estate Planning, PLLC Dec. 29, 2022

Following a person's death, estate settlement or administration is usually required to distribute the decedent's estate and assets to the rightful inheritors and settle their final affairs. However, the estate administration process doesn't always unfold seamlessly. Disputes and conflicts may occur between surviving loved ones or with the executor. Speaking to an estate planning attorney can help educate you about some common estate disputes as well as possible pathways to keep from having to face them in the first place. 

At Moses Estate Planning, PLLC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to offering outstanding legal services and helping clients with estate planning matters. Our strategic team can evaluate possible estate planning issues and give you guidance on how to avoid them. We're proud to serve clients across Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Los Angeles, California, as well as throughout Kootenai County. 

What Is an Estate Dispute? 

An estate dispute can be described as any kind of conflict or disagreement that occurs between surviving family members, beneficiaries, or close relatives during estate settlement or administration. Such disputes may be about how the deceased person's wishes were interpreted or how the executor administered the estate. If not properly resolved, such estate disputes may bring about hostilities between family members or strain familial relationships. 

Common Estate Disputes 

Estate disputes usually occur following a person's death or when settling their estate. The most common estate planning or estate administration disputes are listed below: 

  • Disputes regarding the validity of a will 

  • Breach of fiduciary duty 

  • Disputes over property and assets distribution 

  • Rivalries among siblings, inheritors, and close relatives 

  • The lack of testamentary capacity 

  • The deceased person's second or later marriages 

  • Undue influence or signs of coercion 

  • Tortious interference with inheritance 

  • Disagreement with the executor or personal representative 

  • Issues involving disability or sudden incapacitation 

  • Failure of the executor or personal representative to be accountable 

Surviving family members often end up wasting a substantial part of the resources or inheritance on litigations and court fees. Hence, when estate disputes occur, the parties involved must make sure they're resolved quickly, amicably, and justly. 

A Possibly Remedy: Removing the Executor 

Under the law, the personal representative or executor of a deceased person's estate has a fiduciary duty to act ethically and settle the estate according to provisions of the estate plan, will, or available state laws. In the event that the executor is incompetent, lacks accountability, or fails in their expected responsibilities, the decedent's survivors may be eligible to file a petition seeking the executor's removal. Here are some legal reasons to remove an executor: 

  • Mismanagement 

  • Gross misconduct 

  • Self-dealing 

  • Failure to comply with the provisions of the will or estate plan 

  • Embezzlement 

  • Conversion 

  • Fraud and other illegal activities 

  • Nepotism  

  • Reckless disregard for protecting estate assets 

  • Abuse of discretion 

  • Incompetence 

  • Being in contempt of a court order 

Most importantly, the court will only approve the removal if it is in the best interests of the estate and surviving loved ones. Contact our attorneys today for trustworthy help. We provide our services to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Los Angeles, California, as well as throughout Kootenai County. 

How Estate Planning Can Help You Avoid Disputes 

Depending on your circumstances, there are many options that you can take to avoid possible issues for your estate plan in the future. For starters, you can speak to an estate planning attorney to help you create a will or trust. These legally binding documents allow you to name beneficiaries of your assets. Common estate planning documents that you can utilize include: 

While each document has its benefits, you are able to communicate your wishes. Our attorneys will help you create a long-lasting solution for you and your family. Dealing with the death of a family member is difficult in itself; being confused about how to handle the assets can make the process more stressful. However, with proper guidance, disputes can be avoided. Reach out to us today to discuss your situation and the appropriate steps to take.  

Get the Trusted Legal Guidance You Need 

Unfortunately, estate disputes, conflicts, and legal disagreements between surviving loved ones can destroy familial relationships and deepen rifts. Depending on the reasons for the dispute, the parties involved may consider removing the executor, pursuing ADR methods, or filing a lawsuit. Having a skilled estate planning attorney help you put the right documents in place ahead of time can help you avoid facing such challenges down the line. 

An experienced estate planning attorney can evaluate your available dispute resolution options and help make informed decisions. At Moses Estate Planning, PLLC, we're dedicated to guiding individuals and families through the complexities involved in resolving estate disputes.  

Contact us at Moses Estate Planning, PLLC today to schedule a simple case assessment with skilled estate administration lawyers. We can advocate for your best interests and offer you the personalized legal counsel and advocacy you need to settle your estate disputes. Our firm proudly serves clients across Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Los Angeles, California, as well as throughout Kootenai County.