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When might beneficiaries become disgruntled?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Probate is the legal process of administering an estate. Throughout this process, assets in the will will be distributed to named beneficiaries. This should be carried out in line with the true wishes of the testator. 

There are several reasons why beneficiaries may become disgruntled during probate. Outlined below are some key factors to keep in mind. 

Disputes over testamentary capacity 

A testator must be of sound mind while drafting or making changes to a will. They must fully understand the terms and implications of clauses in all estate planning documents. If a beneficiary doesn’t believe that the testator was of sound mind when terms were drafted, this can result in disputes. 

Disputes of this kind often arise because of undue influence. Essentially, this means that the testator has been taken advantage of because of their vulnerable mental state. One beneficiary may have forced the testator to make changes that are to the detriment of other beneficiaries. 

If evidence of a lack of testamentary capacity can be shown, then the court may deem the will invalid during probate. 

Breach of fiduciary duties 

The person tasked with administering the will is called the executor. This is an important role and it is one that carries fiduciary duties. Fiduciary duties mean that the executor must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. When an executor fails in these duties, and self-profits or treats some beneficiaries more favorably than others, this can result in disputes.  

Whether you are a testator or a beneficiary, you have legal rights. Seeking legal guidance will help to provide clarification on where you stand.