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Estate planning and discontented relatives

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2023 | Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a straightforward process for many people. However, things can become much more complicated when a family member is estranged and expects to receive something during probate. Probate proceedings in Georgia may result in contested wills by aggrieved family members. Estate planning that considers these scenarios might avoid problems for beneficiaries.

Estate planning and family troubles

Various reasons may lead to families suffering from strife and estrangement. Those who feel they are in the right may also feel entitled to receiving something from a will or trust. Yet, the estate planner has the final say over what assets go to what beneficiaries. An exception may exist if a planner disinherits a beneficiary by signing a will under duress or fraud. In such instances, the affected person will have a legitimate case to contest the will.

While there are no guarantees that probate will go smoothly regardless of the estate planner’s actions, it can be worthwhile to communicate with the estranged relatives. When the person knows they will either not receive anything or only receive a small distribution, the fallout during probate might be mitigated.

Other estate planning considerations

Informing the estranged relative that they won’t receive what they expect might reduce bad feelings toward those who receive a distribution. At the very least, effective estate planning might prevent problems between the surviving relatives who might get along well.

One way to alleviate concerns about someone disputing a will is to address those worries during the estate planning. It may also be beneficial to communicate with the intended recipients of the will to prepare them for any potential legal challenges. If the document is properly drafted, any attempts to contest it may ultimately be unsuccessful.