Administering an estate does not always go smoothly. Unfortunately, not everyone acts in good faith when someone with substantial assets dies. Malicious individuals might try to take advantage of a sick or elderly person to inherit their wealth.
Understanding the reasons for probate litigation might help you avoid them in the future. This article describes some common causes for conflict during the probate process and how to identify them.
Proving a valid will
If more than one will surfaces, the beneficiaries might dispute which one is valid. Typically, the court considers the most recent will to be the legitimate will. However, this is not the only qualification. According to Ohio Revised Code 8817.10, the will must not result from fraud, mistake, undue influence, or coercion. Additionally, the testator must be sound of mind when drafting the will. There might be a case for undue influence if someone receives unexpectedly favorable treatment from the will.
Manipulating the testator
A lack of sound mind often contributes to the allegations of undue influence. For example, the accuser might say the testator could not make their own decisions. The person wielding undue influence would know this and take advantage of the impaired testator. In very rare cases, undue influence comes from violence, threats or intimidation. Proving undue influence is not always easy, but if you have medical records to show the testator was not of sound mind, you have a much better chance.
Wealth attracts many people, and sadly they do not always act in good faith. If you believe someone tried to manipulate a testator, it is best to spot the warning signs early.