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What should a person do when there is a dispute over a will?

In virtually every close relationship between St. Paul residents, issues are bound to arise over time. Family disputes are common, for example, whether they involve trivial matters or arguments that can last for years.

Accordingly, it is no wonder that these disputes often do not end upon a person's death. To the contrary, a loved one's death can bring about a number of disputes between surviving family members, including disputes about what the deceased person may have wanted and how to handle that person's affairs.

When these disputes arise, it is often necessary to probate the deceased person's estate. Last week, this blog discussed the procedure of filing a petition to probate a deceased person's estate. The basics of probate law were explained, including what happens when a formal probate proceeding is commenced.

One common occurrence in which probate is necessary is when there is a will contest or other problems to resolve among the heirs. For example, one family member may believe that the deceased person did not have the mental capacity to execute a recent change to his or her will. Accordingly, that family member may try to challenge the will as being ineffective, particularly when the person was left out of the new will.

In other cases, there may be ambiguities in the will, such as a lack of clarity about which property is to go to which person. There may also be complex issues involved in distributing the person's assets or administering the terms of the will. In all of these circumstances, a formal probate should be filed to iron out these issues and bring clarity and resolution to the matter.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Probate, wills, & estates," accessed on June 19, 2015

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