Many people expect or even rely on an inheritance from a deceased loved one. Some may have these expectations for sentimental reasons or because they are facing financial struggles and are glad that a loved one can help from beyond the grave. However, probate litigation can often have a major impact on the inheritances that many New York residents think they are going to obtain.
It was recently reported that a survey among attorneys, accountants and trust officers showed that conflicts among family members posed a substantial threat to estate plans. Many people may have unrealistic expectations of what they should have received, and it is also common for parties to not know how much to expect due to a lack of communication regarding the deceased's intentions. Complications can also arise due to individuals having married multiple times, having kids from different relationships and when stepchildren or stepparents are involved.
The situations can be especially complex if individuals did not create an estate plan. The assets will then be distributed in accordance with state law, and it is not unusual for surviving loved ones to take issue with that distribution. In a best case scenario, an estate plan that treats each heir fairly would have been created.
Of course, even with an estate plan, probate litigation is not entirely avoidable. Parties can take issue with the contents of a will, especially if they feel that the document was not created in a manner that reflected the deceased's true intentions. If New York residents find themselves at odds with family members or other individuals in relation to estates, they may want to enlist the help of probate attorneys.