Many Illinois families, like others throughout the nation, sometimes find themselves entangled in family discord in the days and weeks that follow a loved one’s death. It is not easy to be faced with legal issues surrounding a decedent’s final will and testament or other issues regarding inheritance or fiduciary duties. There are several proactive steps one can take to try to avoid probate litigation.
Estate battles often arise when one or more parties has misread or misunderstood important documents. The best place to start to resolve such problems is to re-read all pertinent documents and to seek clarification of any terminology that is not clearly understood by all those involved. Also, make sure that the most updated version of a will is being referred to, as it is not uncommon for people to modify their wills during their lifetimes but forget to revoke the originals.
Whether or not an omission from a particular will was intentional may be another critical factor in a fight over someone’s estate. If an estate owner specifically excluded a person or people from inheritance, those so-named may not be able to assert a right to inherit. Some people find it quite helpful to arbitrate or mediate disagreements over matters of estate. Such forms of dispute resolution often take less time than battling things out in probate court.
Conversations a decedent had before death may also be pertinent to finding solutions to estate battles. Illinois estate planning attorneys are well-versed in inheritance laws and can provide counsel and guidance if family members find themselves at odds over a loved one’s estate. If needed, a probate litigation attorney can also bring problematic issues to the court’s immediate attention.