A Guide on Deceased Estates Settlement

Do you intend to settle a deceased estate? It could be that you lost a spouse or a parent in the recent past. Below is an extract with some deceased estate settlement tips. 

Your immediate concern would be to establish the deceased's last wishes. Usually, these wishes can be found in the will. Usually, most people leave their will with their lawyer or a trusted confidant, in the home safe or a safe deposit box. Ideally, the document states how the individual would want their estate divided among family, friends, and associates.  

The executor is a vital aspect of the deceased estate settlement process. Ideally, the professional is charged with acquiring the grant of probate, paying estate taxes and dividing the estate among the beneficiaries. Moreover, the individual manages the estate from the date of death to when they divide assets among the beneficiaries. For instance, they might need to pay employee salaries, maintain properties and meet loan obligations. In some cases, the executor could decline these responsibilities or be unavailable to divide the estate. If this is the case, check whether the will has a secondary executor. If not, the beneficiaries can appoint an executor among themselves. If they cannot, the courts can help you choose an executor. 

In some cases, some of the beneficiaries might dispute the legality or contents of the will. Typically, an individual can contest a will if: 

  • They believe that the testator was not of sound mind when writing the document.
  • They believe that the testator was coerced into writing the will.
  • They cannot authenticate the will. For instance, the testator could have two different wills.
  • The will does not meet the legal standard. For example, it might not have witness statements.
  • They believe that the will does not offer adequate provision for them.
  • The testator left them out of the will, yet they had a legal obligation to provide for them. For instance, a child from a previous relationship could have been accidentally or intentionally left out of the will. 

The best approach to deal with will disputes is by engaging a deceased estate lawyer. Ideally, the lawyer examines the legality of the claim and explains the implications of the suit. In some cases, the beneficiaries could opt to resolve the matter out of court. For instance, they could redistribute the estate to ensure adequate provision. A court battle ensues if they cannot agree, and the interested parties await a court ruling. 

Contact a deceased estate lawyer to learn more.