March 2013 – Disputes over the distribution of an Estate

Assume you’re an adult with brothers and sisters and your parents pass away, leaving a Will and Trust to provide for each of you. What do you do if a brother or sister disputes the terms? Do not just jump up and run to the courthouse. You can blow the entire Estate with attorneys’ fees and court costs. Tempers flare and emotions run high in these cases. People don’t think and sometimes, they just want to fight. Don’t do it.

In addition, some estate plans include a non-contest clause. This means that any party who fights distribution of the Estate may forfeit his or her share of the proceeds. This is typically done by benefactors who hope their heirs will accept their final wishes and allow the Estate to be disbursed as intended.

The best advice a lawyer can provide a client is: step back – take a deep breath – and think. It’s hard, but it’s essential to keep emotions out of Estate distributions. If one heir retains an attorney, the others feel they have no option but to do the same. Your parents did not intend for you to squander your inheritance on lawyers.

If you find yourself in a dispute with family members over the distribution of an Estate, you don’t have to run to the courthouse. At Owens & Perkins, we can meet with all of the parties (unless they are represented by counsel) and allow each person to tell their side of the story calmly and rationally. We can even mediate all the issues without wasting thousands and thousands of dollars in Court and we can do it in a fraction of the time.

At Owens & Perkins, we are happy to answer any questions you may have, protect your inheritance, honor the wishes of your parents and, hopefully, keep the matter from turning into a long, drawn out court battle that only drains the Estate and causes irreparable damage to family relationships. Don’t let your situation come to this.

Call Owens & Perkins today at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a frr 30-minute phone consultation with one of our experienced Attorneys.