On the surface, the siblings got along. However, underneath that façade, things often reached just below the boiling point. But upon the death of their mother, the boiling point is reached. The outcome of her estate is in question, and the siblings resort to fighting over the assets. Estate litigation is inevitable.
You did not want this matter to come down to this, but it seems that there is no choice but to pursue litigation to resolve this situation and rightfully get what you deserve. It is time to legally challenge the will, whether named in it or left out of this legal document. There are many reasons for estate litigation to come to the forefront, including whether you felt shortchanged by the will or suspect your brother who cared for your mother subscribed to elder abuse.
Breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence
Here are some of the reasons why estate litigation occurs:
- Abuse by the executor: The executor has many duties in settling the estate but, sometimes, this person neglects his or her duties or flat out commits crimes such as theft or forgery. This is an example of breach of fiduciary duty. Get that executor replaced and pursue litigation.
- Signs of undue influence: Perhaps your parent is being abused and intimidated by your brother who is supposed to be caring for her. Such domineering behavior from your sibling may lead to him influencing your mother in the details within the will. This is a prime example of elder abuse, too.
- Lack of mental capacity: Perhaps the testator – the person who writes and signs the will — did so while suffering from a mental illness or even showed early signs of dementia. This could lead to an invalid will.
- Creditors pursuing actions: This group may include companies and individuals owed money by the estate. They may file lawsuits seeking payments if the executor has neglected to pay them.
- The division of assets: There have been many instances in which a person left out of a will has legitimate claims to secure certain assets.
Challenging a will is often something that people feel uncomfortable doing but often is the necessary thing to do. In certain circumstances, estate litigation clarifies matters within a will, especially when suspicious dealings surface.