Many people put off writing a will. Say you do so for a few decades, thinking you still have time to get your estate plan together. Then, just before you actually get that plan down on paper, you pass away unexpectedly from a heart attack or in a car accident.
Your parent's will arrives, and you just don't like the terms. Maybe you thought that you'd get a specific asset or maybe you thought more money would go your way. You have been looking forward to it, and now you're disappointed. Can you challenge the will?
It is not enough just to have an estate plan. You need to make sure that it is actually up to date. This is a constant process. Writing a will and then forgetting about it for 10 years does not help anyone. Your assets could change significantly in that time.
When an estate plan gets to probate court, you may want to challenge the will. The most common reason for a challenge is that a family member thinks the will is inaccurate. It does not describe what a loved one believes the deceased person wanted.
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.
Parents often spend a lot of time trying to diffuse sibling rivalries when the children are young. However, those rivalries do not always go away. They often last into adulthood. When a parent passes away, these rivalries may come back up and cause some serious estate planning disputes.
In some cases, estate disputes start because of sibling rivalry. The way that kids have related to each other all their lives can continue even into adulthood. This can make them compete with one another or resent each other. Those feelings come back up when they do not agree with a will or estate plan.
People make a lot of mistakes when creating wills and estate plans. Some don't make a will at all. Others forget about tax implications. Still others don't think about the sentimental value of certain items and create conflict between siblings.
If your mother passed away and your father got married again, some studies suggest that your family could be more likely to get into a heated estate dispute in the future. After all, stepmothers are frequently at the heart of these disagreements.
Everyone wants to control their fortunes, and there are many laws in California that allow people to leave their assets and possessions to the people and organizations they love. Some people do not have a living will to govern these desires, and when there's no will, the only way is probate court.