Estate litigation is a branch of the law in which there exist disputes regarding the estate, or assets, of a deceased person. A common type of estate litigation occurs between family members, such as siblings, when a parent dies and the siblings want to dispute or contest the parent's will, or when there is no estate plan in place.
Estate litigation can quickly become contentious and stressful, so it is important to find ways to move through the process in the most harmonious way possible. While it may not be realistic to agree with the others, there are steps you can take to maintain your own well-being and legal protection.
Enlist the help of professionals
One of the first and most important decisions you will make in an estate litigation situation is choosing which professionals will help you resolve the issues. Estate planning attorneys have the training and experience to handle disputes over estates. If there was already an estate planning attorney involved in drafting an estate plan for your deceased parent, you will likely be in contact with this person. There may be issues you need to deal with, such as an outdated estate plan. Lack of a proper estate plan is oftentimes what leads to estate litigation in the first place. You may need to enlist the help of your own attorney to assist you in achieving your objectives regarding the circumstances of the estate in question.
Do not neglect your emotional health
Estate litigation such as a will or trust contest puts all the focus on the legal and financial aspects of the situation, but this often comes at a high cost to your own personal well-being. Contentious disputes can take a heavy toll on your emotional health, especially when these disputes involve close family members or those you are estranged from. This is all taking place under the larger context of a death in the family, which can further impact your ability to cope with the situation effectively. Ensure you have a trustworthy support network around to help with your emotional and logistical needs during an estate litigation.