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Probate and Estate Disputes Archives

On the role of an executor and estate plans

When someone creates their estate plan, the role of executor is one of the most important issues that needs to be decided. The executor of an estate is in charge of ensuring that a person's last wishes are fulfilled as per the will, and that the estate is properly organized and handled. As such, it is a stressful responsibility that an executor takes on, but it can be fulfilling one.

Estate plans and probate: problems can arise

Every family and indeed every individual should build out their estate with a wide range of legal options, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney among other potential options. But even though the number of legal options is ultimately finite, there are an infinite number of circumstances that could be involved in any estate plan. No two families will be the same; no two wills will be the same; no two trusts are the same. Each and every estate has to be dealt with individually and addressed in a specific manner.

Challenging an estate is legally complex

In a perfect world, estates would never be disputed. The grantor would create his or her will early in their life and proactively manage it, ensuring that beneficiaries are properly designated and that they are receiving what they should get. The beneficiaries would understand the legal complexities of the situation. And, in general, there would be no feelings of anger or resentment based on what the beneficiaries receive.

When should you update your will?

Having a will is an essential part to your estate plan. But once you have created a will, it isn't as if you can just put your hands up and say "well, I'm done with this forever!" Wills must be updated frequently, and there are many specific circumstances that can arise that should cause you to look over your will and update it accordingly. If you don't update your will, you could risk your assets going to someone or some party that you didn't intend.

What does 'intestate' mean and why should you worry about it?

Having an estate plan should be a priority for every person, but obviously the ideal outcome isn't always reality. Not every person has an estate plan, and not every person even has the desire to even start one. It is simply unrealistic to think that everyone will have an estate plan, despite the clear advantages and benefits to having one.

Decades after his death, Jimi Hendrix estate still in litigation

If an estate or probate dispute arises, it typically comes up during the original administration of the estate in probate court. That is by no means the only time it can occur, however, as the recent dispute involving the estate Al Hendrix, father of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, demonstrates.

Court rules in Maurice Sendak estate dispute

Millions of children in Cincinnati and other parts of the world have grown up with the stories and art of Maurice Sendak, author of "Where the Wild Things Are." Unfortunately, the man known for his literary and artistic ability passed away several years ago. Since then, his estate and foundation has been embroiled in an estate dispute with Rosenbach Museum and Library. A court has recently ruled on the dispute, largely in favor of the Sendak estate.

What is probate and why do people try to avoid it?

One of the topics that you will always hear when an estate plan comes up in a conversation is probate. Many people will qualify this process as a scary and unfortunate part of an estate plan, but in reality probate is merely the execution of an estate and going about the formal and legal steps to ensure that assets are taken care of, taxes are paid and beneficiaries receive what they should.

When the circumstances call for a challenge to a will

Challenging a will is a very tough task. It is important to note that most wills pass through without any contests, and even the ones that are contested are unlikely to be changed. Judges are unwilling to alter the last wishes of a deceased person unless clear evidence supports the claims of the people challenging the will.

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