The probate process is designed to transfer assets of someone who died and has heirs who stand to inherit. There are many steps taken during probate, such as validating the will, valuing the estate, and allowing an opportunity for creditors to come forward with debt claims. In the best case scenario, when someone passes away and has left behind a valid will, probate will be a relatively simple process.
However, this is just an ideal, and there are countless issues that can arise during probate. When problems do come up, it is important to have legal assistance to guide you through. Most people don’t have extensive insight into law, and can be quickly overwhelmed at what is to come. As a probate lawyer In Fort Collins, CO from W.B. Moore Law has explained to clients, here are examples of common problems that can happen amidst probate:
The appointed executor cannot fulfill the role.
When a will is written, the testator will have named an executor. This person has a responsibility to oversee the probate process and manage assets as needed. While most people who are listed as the executor of an estate will be able to carry out this role, others may not want the duty at all. An executor who cannot fulfill their duties may result in the court appointing someone else to administer the estate instead. It is often suggested that testators ask the person they appointed if they are comfortable with this responsibility first, before solidifying their documents.
There is a complaint from an heir.
Sometimes an heir believes that they should receive certain assets from within an estate, and if they were not given any or to the extent they think they deserve, they may file a complaint to the court. Or an heir may suspect that the testator was under undue influence from someone with malintentions, and that the validity of the will should be questioned. Those who want to challenge a will validity will have to show why they think the document should not be enforced.
There are allegations against the executor.
An executor has a fiduciary duty by law to manage a person’s assets carefully and only for the benefit of the estate and heirs. An executor is not permitted to make choices for their personal gain, and if they are caught doing so, those harmed by this breach of duty may file an allegation. The executor may be removed from their position and another appointed if the judge is concerned about how they are treating the estate and beneficiaries. Executors who fail to meet the expectations of their role may result in a complaint from a beneficiary or other such person that was close to the deceased.
There are several problems that can arise during probate that exceed just the short list above. For these reasons and more, those who need help with probate must seek assistance from a reputable estate planning law firm to ensure their loved one’s wishes are carried out how they would have wanted.