There are certain instances in which having expectations can cause more harm than good. However, when a person indicates through his or her estate planning documents that funds will be given to a particular organization, having the expectation of receiving those funds seems appropriate. If sudden changes result in that expectation not becoming reality, probate litigation may result.
Texas residents may be interested in an estate dispute that recently came to a settlement in another state. Apparently, a man had reportedly intended to bequeath his remaining estate to a college, of which he was an alumnus. In 2001, the man created and filed a will that indicated this intention. However, he later became ill, and his cousin took over as the man’s power of attorney agent. During that period of ill health before the man’s death, a new will was apparently created.
The terms of the new document indicated that the estate would not go to the college but would instead be split between the man’s cousin and the man’s former fiancee. Representatives for the college filed suit, claiming that the cousin took advantage of the man in order to obtain power of attorney and requested that the older will take precedence. Though the cousin claimed that no undue influence occurred, the case recently came to an undisclosed settlement.
It is not unusual for concerns and disputes to arise when an older will is suddenly superseded by a document created while an individual is in ill health. As this case shows, probate litigation may be warranted in order to ensure that the decedent’s true intentions are recognized and carried out. If beneficiaries or other individuals with legal standing believe that their loved ones’ estate plans have been unduly influenced, they may wish to speak with Texas attorneys about their legal options.