What Should I Do If My Parent's Estate Gets Contested?

 Posted on December 15, 2023 in Estate Planning

TX estate planning lawyerSettling a deceased parent’s estate can be an emotionally complicated time, even under the best of circumstances. When hostilities emerge, and family members legally contest the will or trust, grieving while managing high-stakes legal affairs becomes exponentially more difficult. A Texas estate planning lawyer can help figure out how to get through this and prove there are no grounds for this.

Let the Attorney Handle It

If you are the executor of your parent’s estate and a family member or heir challenges the will, your first move is handing things off to the probate lawyer. They have the expertise in Texas inheritance law and procedures to address the legal contestation directly. Trying to manage the dispute as a non-attorney not only causes more stress, it risks procedural mistakes harming your own standing.

Provide Background Information

While your attorney leads the legal response, do provide them with key details. They will need names of disgruntled parties, their relationship to the deceased, their reasons for contesting if known, and a timeline of events. Also share copies of the will itself, trust documents, financial statements, and any other relevant materials related to the estate distribution. Facts strengthen your lawyer’s ability to resolve or defend.

Redirect Communication

Make clear to extended family, friends, or others connected to the deceased that they should not contact you directly regarding estate matters, instead routing inquiries and comments to your attorney. This prevents statements or actions from you inadvertently escalating tensions while your lawyer establishes legal protections. Tell even sympathetic relatives to let your counselor handle affairs for now.

Consider Mediation First

In some cases, an experienced estate litigator may advise first attempting mediation before entering a long, costly courtroom battle — especially if grounds of the challenge seem questionable. Going through impartial mediation can resolve a surprisingly high percentage of contests early on. If mediation fails, you still have the court system to advocate your position armed with additional information on the other party’s case.

Get Supportive Counseling

Executors often overlook caring for their own mental health during the extreme stress of managing a parent’s estate and dealing with family infighting. Seeking counseling or joining a support group provides a safe space to process emotions as legal affairs unfold. Prioritize self-care as much as handling logistics.

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Estate Planning Lawyer

Contesting an estate takes an emotional and financial toll on all parties involved. Having a Fort Worth, TX estate planning attorney guide you through the process can help minimize disruptions to your life and uphold your loved one’s final wishes. Call Gonzalez Law, PLLC at 817-349-7330 for a free consultation.

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