One of the primary reasons people create wills is to ensure that their wishes are clearly articulated and honored when they die. Without a valid will in place, the decedent’s estate would be distributed per Oregon’s intestacy laws.
But a will can also be the source of a costly legal tussle, especially when a beneficiary is dissatisfied with their allotted inheritance. Here are some of the leading causes of probate disputes:
1. Executor-related disputes
While creating a will, the testator is required to name an executor. This is the individual who will manage and, thus, oversee the probate process upon the testator’s death. If the executor fails to perform their duties, the beneficiaries may take legal action against them on grounds of breach of fiduciary duty.
2. Will-related disputes
A will can be disputed for a variety of reasons. Perhaps, it was not witnessed per Oregon’s wills laws or the testator’s mental capacity was in question at the time. When a beneficiary feels their inheritance is at stake, they will certainly go to court. Suspected fraud can also lead to probate disputes.
Are probate disputes avoidable?
As the testator, you can take steps to minimize the possibility of someone disputing your will. Here are some of these steps:
- Hire a competent lawyer to draft your will
- Append evidence of testamentary capacity
- Designate an executor who understands your will and will treat your wishes with respect
- Periodic review and updating of your will to reflect changes in your circumstances
A will is one of the most critical legal documents you can ever create. Learning more about Oregon estate planning laws can help you avoid probate disputes as well as the confusion and conflicts that come with them.