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Protecting Your Legacy

Concerns over undue influence may lead to probate litigation

| Oct 11, 2018 | Probate Litigation |

The loss of a loved one can come with many factors to consider. In some cases, when a person’s estate ends up unexpectedly going to a single person, the family may have to consider whether probate litigation could suit the situation. This type of legal action could help families who believe that their loved ones were taken advantage of while in a vulnerable state.

Texas readers may be interested in such a situation that took place in another state. The surviving nieces and nephews of one man filed a lawsuit against the man’s former insurance agent after she ended up inheriting the man’s estate. She was also appointed as executor of the estate and had been the man’s power of attorney agent for health-related decisions.

The family believed that since their uncle had dementia, the agent took advantage of his vulnerable condition in order to become the sole beneficiary. The agent had already collected funds from two annuities when the family filed the lawsuit, and the court ordered those funds returned to the estate while awaiting trial. However, the woman did not believe that her health would allow her to withstand a full trial, and as a result, she and the family came to a settlement with the family receiving all but $150,000 of the $1.6 million estate. The retained funds were for the agent’s legal fees.

While contesting a will and going through probate litigation may seem excessive to some, those actions may be necessary in order to address important issues. As this case shows, taking such action may help surviving family receive the inheritances due to them. If Texas residents believe that their love ones’ final wishes are not being properly followed, they may want to find out information on their legal options.