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Surprise property distributions may lead to will contests

| Oct 11, 2018 | Probate |

In some cases, when a family member dies, the surviving loved ones may feel shocked when they learn about how his or her remaining estate will be distributed. In an ideal scenario, New York family members would have discussed estate plans and knew what to expect when the loved one passed away, but that is not always the case. In fact, surprise property distributions can sometimes lead to will contests.

This type of lawsuit recently came to a settlement in another state. The family of a deceased man pursued a lawsuit against his former insurance agent, claiming that she took advantage of their uncle, who had dementia, in order to be named sole beneficiary of his estate. The former agent inherited $1.6 million from the man’s estate after his death. She was also named power of attorney agent and executor.

The agent had collected money from two annuities, and she was ordered by the court to return the money to the estate when the nieces and nephews filed their claim. The case was supposed to go to trial, but the agent claimed that her ill health would not allow her to go through a full trial. As a result, the family and the agent came to a settlement in which the family would obtain the inheritance from the estate except for $150,000 for her to use on legal fees.

Families can often feel heartbroken when they believe that their loved ones were taken advantage of. In certain cases, it may be necessary to move forward with will contests in order to make sure that a loved one’s true wishes are followed. New York residents who may have concerns over this type of scenario may want to discuss their circumstances with knowledgeable attorneys to determine their best courses of action.