Probate is a simple term for a sometimes lengthy, complex, and costly process by which the probate court determines the validity of wills, trusts, and other instruments and oversees the distribution of the assets in the decedent's estate. It also provides a forum for legal will contests and estate disputes. Within this relatively simple framework, many complications may arise, including:
Will Contests, which generally arise in cases where property was promised to an individual without an express intention specified in the will. This may also be an issue if the will was drafted when the decedent was incapacitated or incompetent. Interference with Inheritance, or a claim that the decedent was improperly influenced by a family member or other person in the allocation of property or gifts. If a Person Dies Intestate, or lacking a will or other instrument of asset protection, litigation may be necessary to determine the rightful beneficiaries of the estate.