Surviving family members are not always satisfied with the manner in which a loved one’s remaining estate is divided after his or her death. In some cases, individuals feel the need to utilize probate litigation because they feel strongly that the details of any estate plans do not coincide with the loved one’s true intentions. However, taking such action could put inheritances at risk.
Texas residents may be interested in a dispute involving the surviving family of Pat Bowlen, the former majority owner of the Broncos. Before his passing, Bowlen had created a trust that now has the responsibility of appointing the next controlling owner of the football team. Despite a no-contest clause in the trust, which could result in heirs being disinherited if they choose to move forward with a contest, two of Bowlen’s daughters have filed a suit challenging the validity of the trust.
The daughters believe that their father did not have the mental capacity and was unduly influenced when he updated his estate plan in 2009. One of these daughters had indicated in 2018 that she wished to be the successor, but the trustee determined that she was not qualified or capable of taking on the role. There are plans for another daughter not involved in filing the suit to join the team later this year to begin the process of taking over as controlling owner. It was noted that the Bronco’s franchise is worth over $2.5 billion.
Probate litigation can be a complicated process to go through, but some individuals feel it is needed in order to ensure that a loved one’s true intentions are carried out. As this case shows, concerns over a decedent’s mental capacity could bring an estate plan into question. If Texas residents have similar concerns, they may wish to consult with probate attorneys about their options.