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In terms of potential disruptions, you might have claims from either heirs or non-heirs making some claim that assets are being distributed unfairly or not in the best interest of the deceased. Maybe they’re alleging that the person was old and feeble and didn’t have mental competence or was coerced into saying what they said in their will, or they feel that there was fraud involved. Maybe they could allege that the document is fraudulent. There are all sorts of things that could happen there in a challenge to the court in probate, and these things can happen with the trust as well. I feel that the probate process tends to find itself in litigation more, and why is that? Because you have to give notice to all sorts of people in the probate process, whether they were named in the will or not named in the will. So even heirs, if they were left out, let’s say you’re disinheriting a child, for example, they still have to get a notice about the probate. They’re going to get these court documents, and it can stir the pot, and those things don’t typically happen with the trust. Only the beneficiaries named in the trust will receive a notice.

There could also be creditors who come forward, which can lead to the law and motion issues, hearings, evidentiary things, even depositions potentially, so that can lead to lots of potential litigation. In terms of trying to resolve them without litigation, that all depends on the presented evidence and the claim. Sometimes these things are just settled. The ultimate goal is not to have lengthy and drawn-out litigation.

Anything Else That Is Important For Probate That We Didn’t Touch On?

One thing that I find that causes a lot of frustration and headaches for folks is if you’re dealing with assets out of state, meaning state other than where the individual died, or if you’re doing your own planning. I had a case recently just like this. It was an annuity worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in another state, it was in California, and the person died in Arizona. Well, there was a problem with the named beneficiaries. So we had to open probate in Arizona, but we had to open what we call ancillary probate in that state. That got very time-consuming dealing with the local rules in Los Angeles court. The staff took a long, costly time to get these surviving spouses to wait for money that he was inheriting from his wife out of that bank. This is yet another reason why trusts can be so beneficial.

For more information on Estate Planning Law In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 526-5597 today.

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