Will disputes can cause contention in families

It is understandable that you want the best for your loved ones after you die. This would include knowing that the beneficiaries of your will, which would probably be your closest relatives, will spend the time after your death remembering you instead of fighting over what was left to them. Unfortunately, at Ball & Morse, PLLC, we know that it is not always possible to avoid probate or will disputes for residents in Oklahoma City. Sometimes the terms of a will may not have been clear, and sometimes the beneficiaries are not happy with what they were given.

According to AARP’s page on disputed wills, this scenario is happening more often lately with the aging parents of Baby Boomers passing away. Brothers and sisters may end up pitted against each other over their parents’ personal possessions, vehicles, land and the family home.

To give you an example of what can happen, we’ve come up with two will dispute scenarios that are entirely possible. In one, an adult child has moved in with his elderly mother to care for her until she passes away. To show her gratitude, she designates her home to be left to him in her will, while leaving other belongings and property to her other children. Unknown to the son, his siblings have convinced their mother to sign a new will giving them joint tenancy regarding the home. After her death, the son finds out the home does not belong solely to him but to all of the children. A probate court might state that the home must be sold to distribute the proceeds to all of the beneficiaries.

In the second situation, a widower remarries later in life. He rewrites his will to leave most of his estate to his new wife and only a small portion to his adult children. His children believe that they deserved more, since the new wife was only around for a short time and they had cared for him all his life.

These examples only illustrate some of the possibilities you might face in a will dispute. For more information, please visit our page on probate law.

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