Your last remaining parent passes away. You know that they did their estate planning, but you also worry that you and your siblings will not see eye-to-eye regarding that plan. You’ve never really gotten along as adults, and you fear that they’ll try to challenge the will almost no matter what it says.
For instance, maybe you live close to your parents, while they live on the other side of the country. You worry that they’ll accuse you of using undue influence, manipulating your parents to alter the estate plan.
What you’re wondering is just how common this is. How many wills get challenged? Is this a legitimate fear?
First and foremost, it is a legit fear. It does happen. People do wind up in court for months or even years. The more assets in the estate, the more you have to lose. People will go to great lengths regarding money and financial assets.
That said, it is not common. Roughly 99% of all wills that get written in the United States go through the probate process without a challenge.
In actuality, you may have far more problems if your parents did not do any estate planning at all. That’s when will contests and complaints hold more weight, as the court does not know what your parents actually wanted. With the will, they do know, and all challenges have to be backed up by a solid reason to show that the estate plan does not line up with those wishes, desires and goals.
Though uncommon, if you do end up in an estate dispute, make sure you understand your legal rights.