Avoiding Family Squabbles in Probate Cases

When the attorneys at the Thav, Ryke & Associates Law Firm discuss the probate process and the steps involved with our clients, we like to point out how important it is to try to avoid conflict with relatives. There are often, in probate cases, many family members or loved ones involved. This can lead to disputes, debates, and acrimony. Our lawyers provide advice and services to each client and help them complete a probate after a family member or loved one has passed away. We use our expertise to counsel you through the process and make sure every step in the probate process is completed correctly and efficiently.

While there are some things that we do not have control over which could cause a probate case to be much more expensive than it normally would, we try to avoid such expenses by counseling our clients toward the easier path forward. The main thing that we do not have control over is family disputes as we cannot control whether family members choose to contest the probate decision.

These disputes are most often over money, property, and other assets that are part of the estate. We will help make sure estate planning documents are done correctly so that they can help you avoid almost all conflict with family members after you have passed away.

The basic estate planning documents that each person should have that will be applicable after you pass away is a last will and testament. In your will, you have the ability to do several things. First of all, you get to choose who will be your personal representative. It is always wisest to choose a personal representative that you believe will help avoid conflicts or be able to resolve conflicts if they arise. This may not be your oldest child, or it may not even be a family member at all. Rather, perhaps a close family friend would be the best person to choose because of their ability to help avoid conflict within your family.

In addition to choosing a legal representative, you also have the ability to decide to who your estate will be distributed. In your last will and testament, you get to name individuals who will receive specific items from you. You also have the ability to name individuals who will be heirs to the rest of your estate either by percentages or by specific dollar amounts. However, you decide to do it, you are the one who is in control. As a result, if there is any anger or ill feelings That come up, they will be directed to you rather than to other living family members.

If you do not have a last will and testament, then the laws of intestacy apply. In this instance, any of your family members can choose to petition the court to be your personal representative. As a result, your family may not agree about who it should be and they fight about who should be appointed. Additionally, if you do not have a last will and testament your estate will be distributed based on the statutes. In this way, you have no control over who will receive your specific money and property and other assets. This also could lead to a family fight.

We will also make sure that there exists good and healthy communication between family members. Specifically, whoever is appointed as a personal representative should work to keep communication open with all other family members about the steps that are being completed in the probate process. By keeping communication open, there is less room for misunderstandings, or for hard feelings.

Contact one of the probate experts at the Thav, Ryke & Associates Law Firm to help you navigate the complicated world of probate law. With some expert assistance to ensure good communication, proper documentation and respect with relatives, we help you make the process anxiety-free and without the conflict that is so common.