When it comes to dividing property after an individual's death, the process may not always be as easy as hoped. Even if proper estate planning documents were filed, there is a chance that parties may take issue with certain aspects of those documents. If concerns do arise, those individuals may wish to move forward with probate litigation.
Texas residents may be interested in a case involving the estate of Maurice Sendak, the well-known children's author and illustrator. Reports stated that Sendak had bequeathed "rare edition books" to the Rosenbach Museum and Library as part of his will. The library, however, believed that they did not receive all of the intended donations after the author's death. As a result, a lawsuit was filed against Sendak's estate.
Due to the wording of the will, the estate believed that the library received the books to which they were entitled. The distinction between "rare edition books" and simply "rare books" was at the heart of the argument. The court recently ruled in favor of the estate and concluded that the use of the word "edition" was purposeful. As a result, the estate was awarded 252 books out of 340.
Legal documents can be confusing in some cases, and when different interpretation of the same document cause conflict, disputes could take place. If Texas residents are facing such predicaments over the wording and/or intent of estate documents, they may wish to learn more about their legal options. Conferring with experienced probate litigation attorneys could help those parties determine the most optimal courses of action.
Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Maurice Sendak's Estate Awarded Favorable Verdict in Will Dispute", Anna Sulkin, Nov. 7, 2016