Litigation Involving Estates and Bequests

Estate Litigation Appeals Lawyer

Families have disagreements. Families at times also separate. Divorce and familial disputes happen and there are ways to navigate the issues. A family lawyer can help families wade through divorce and separation disputes; however, there are other complex scenarios that come into play for families when a loved one passes. What happens to property and assets? Who is in charge of distributing assets? How are a loved one’s creditors paid? What if there wasn’t a will? All of these questions and more can be answered by an estate litigation appeals lawyer which has provided some insight below.

What is a Bequest?

A bequest is a gift that a person receives as an inheritance after the original owner died. There are many types of bequests and a person may inherit in one or more forms. Disputes sometimes arise in regard to a bequest that an individual inherited or expected to inherit, and it may be necessary to hire a lawyer to defend one’s self. The most common types of bequests include:

  • Specific bequest: The decedent may have bequeathed a certain property or amount of cash.
  • General bequest: This is usually a cash sum or type of property that is distributed amongst the heirs. Each bequest may be identical, or there may be an unequal distribution as per the instructions in the will or authorized by the probate court.
  • Residual bequest: Once the estate’s debts have been paid and the specified bequests have been fulfilled, what is left over is considered the residual bequest.
  • Percentage bequest: This refers to a percentage of the estate’s total assets.
  • Demonstrative bequest: When a certain source generates the heir’s gift. For example, the gift may be a percentage of the liquidized funds generated from the sale of stocks and bonds.
  • Executory bequest: After a predetermined or specified event occurs, the heir will receive their designated gift from the estate. A common example is when a child turns of legal age or graduates from college.
  • Charitable bequest: This is a gift from the estate to a registered charity. This includes charities of a community nature as well as educational, religious, political, and scientific, among others.

Note that there are laws governing bequests and what items or assets can be bequeathed as well as the conditions of the bequest.

What Are My Legal Options if There is a Bequest Dispute?

If a will is contested by someone included or excluded from the will, it may cause delays and other issues with regard to the distribution of the estate’s assets. Most likely a hearing will take place in a local courtroom with the goal of resolving any issues surrounding the dispute. Whether you are going through a divorce and have a custody dispute, or defending your rights to inheritance and you are contesting a will, it’s important to reach the results that are best for the family. Even if the will includes a no-contest or anti-contest provision, it may not disqualify the recipient from inheriting assets of the estate. Seek experienced legal counsel for disputes of this nature in order to ensure that the estate is protected and that inheritances are passed on to rightful heirs.