- A will or revocable trust can be challenged or contested. The party will be able to file a petition with the probate court.
- While we generally try to avoid probate, the choice is up to you. And if it makes a difference between owning 50% and 100% of an asset, it could be worth contesting a will.
Today's video is going to be about contesting a will or challenging revocable trusts. It's a good question, because I have had several people ask me whether suing over things like an estate is a good idea. And of course, the answers depends and is ultimately up to you.
We had a lady come in one time and the question was, "Should I sue dad's estate or challenge his will?" She was a very nice lady, very soft lady and she had taken care of her father for years for a good while at least. She was tender‑hearted. It was very obvious.
The father was close to her and wanting to leave her all of it. The other brother was not involved at all. He was in another state. Not that's the most operative thing, but he was in another state. He never came by. He was successful. He was also kind of controlling, greedy, pushy.
Estate Plan Documents Can Be Wrong
What had happened was the father had been taken to an estate planning attorney and his estate plan documents changed. Instead of the daughter getting 100 percent, the son and the daughter were to get 50 percent each. Actually, it was an accident. It wasn't even intended to be that way, but the documents ended up that way.
The daughter, of course, was upset and she wanted to challenge the estate plan. We talked about it. We talked about the pros and cons. We talked about the odds of winning and the cost, and all of those things and the emotion of it all.
She was pretty upset but she had control of her emotions pretty good. You could tell that she was upset. It hadn't been long since her father had died and to learn of this, not that she in any way begrudged taking care of her father at all. She didn't do that, but it's a principle thing. We talked about what we would need to do if we wanted to begin to consider challenging the estate plan.
Contesting a Will Could Be the Right Decision
I gave her a homework list of things that she was going to get for me, information and documents, then she was going to report back. We had another consultation in about a week. When she came back in, we talked things over and she decided that she did not want to challenge the estate plan.
You may say, "Well, gee, that's the right thing to do. I mean, 50 percent is better than nothing." Yep, 50 percent is indeed better than nothing, but 50 percent is a whole lot less than 100 percent. There's a principle at play here. She decided, "Look, I'm going to leave this alone. It's not worth the bitterness. It's not worth the emotion. It's not worth the time loss and all of those things."
To keep this raw nerve out there active for months and months, and maybe a year or two, just wasn't worth it. She decided that she was going to leave it alone and accept it as it is. For her, that was the right decision, but it may not necessarily be the right decision for you or anyone else. Feel free to leave comments below if you have an opinion on contesting a will, if something like this has happened to you.
We at Fouts Law Group focus on asset protection for you and for your family. We specialize in that. We are not general practitioners. We want to share our knowledge with you. We want you to have a plan that actually functions and doesn't just look pretty.
Give us a call if you'd like to schedule a free consultation. When you come in, I'll also give you a copy of my book. It is a real book available on Amazon, but you won't have to pay for it. It's called "Estate Planning in Georgia," how to leave your assets in a smart way and protect it.