When a loved one passes away, surviving family can become very protective over the assets left behind. In particular, when a will seems to leave instructions for distribution, individuals can feel dismayed when it appears that those instructions are not being followed. In fact, some issues could even lead to probate litigation.
Unfortunately, it is common for issues to arise when the wording of legal documents is unclear. One family in Texas faced such an issue when it came to the handing down of land within a family. After a woman’s death, she left a 316-acre ranch to her son, and the will had instructions stating that the land should not be sold but rather handed down to the woman’s grandchildren.
The father then conveyed the land to a limited liability corporation. The children filed a lawsuit against him because they believed that he did not have the right to take that action per the instructions in their grandmother’s will. However, the court ruled that their father did have the ability to convey the land because the instructions in the will were considered an invalid disabling restraint and not an actual gift of ownership to the children.
Probate litigation can be a tricky issue, and when estate documents are not clearly and correctly created, families can face understandable confusion and conflict. If individuals in Texas feel that there are issues with a will in probate or that another family member has not followed the legally binding aspects of the documents correctly, they may want to look into their legal options. Consulting with knowledgeable attorneys could help them determine what action could be most feasible.
Source: southwestfarmpress.com, “When grandma’s will causes a family feud“, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, May 29, 2018