2 top causes of estate planning disputes 

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning is an important process that all adults should consider. Estate planning allows individuals to implement documents that provide instructions on how assets should be distributed upon a person’s death. Estate planning tools can also allocate child guardians and address healthcare decisions. 

Unfortunately, a smooth process is not always guaranteed, and estate planning disputes can arise. Outlined below are some of the top causes of estate planning disputes. 

1. Disputes over the validity of documents

Estate planning documents can only carry out their intended functions if they are legally valid. To be legally valid, the documents must be in relation to someone who is 18 years of age or older. Additionally, for a will to be valid, its signing should be witnessed by two reliable parties who are not beneficiaries. 

Disputes can arise when these procedures have not been followed. These procedures could be missed if the individual has drafted documents on their own without proper legal guidance. In some cases, the creator may have been coerced into drafting documents or making changes, which also makes the documents invalid. All estate planning instruments must reflect the true wishes of the creator. 

2. A breach of fiduciary duties 

The individual tasked with ensuring that estate planning documents are honored is referred to as the executor of the estate. They must manage the estate responsibly and not act in their own best interests. They have a fiduciary duty to implement estate planning documents as the creator intended. If an executor acts inappropriately, fraudulently or mismanages the estate, this can result in legal disputes. 

When drafting your estate plan, having legal guidance behind you can help reduce the risk of disputes.