If you are among the beneficiaries of a loved one’s estate, you will have to go through probate court to receive the assets left to you. For some people, this process is straightforward. But all sorts of problems can arise during it. Before probate begins, it’s crucial that you prepare for these challenges.
Your loved one may have passed away with a large amount of debt, and creditors may try pursuing their estate’s assets as repayment. In Pennsylvania, creditors have one year after a decedent’s passing to file a claim. If they do, the value of your loved one’s estate could decrease if its assets go toward repaying these debts. And because the estate’s executor will need to oversee these payments, the disbursement of any remaining assets could face delay.
Another beneficiary of your loved one’s estate may challenge its validity. This person might claim that your loved one shared with them intentions at odds with those outlined in the estate plan. And they might also argue that your loved drafted their plan under the undue influence of another party. Yet, a beneficiary alone cannot change the estate’s provisions unless they have grounds to do so and have proof to back up their allegations.
The executor of your loved one’s estate may be unwilling to fulfill their role. In this case, the court would need to appoint another person to replace them. Some executors may also display unscrupulousness in carrying out their duties. Without knowing, your loved one may have chosen an executor who engages in self-dealing or mismanages their estate’s assets. If this happens, you will need to file a lawsuit against them for breach of fiduciary duty. This motion may not guarantee the executor’s removal. But it is imperative to act so you can do your best to preserve your loved one’s assets.
Probate can prove frustrating even for the most level-headed people. But you do not need to endure it alone. An attorney who understands the process and its challenges can help you through it.