Divorce can cause a number of complications to arise in a person’s life. However, when a person dies while his or her divorce case is still underway, it is possible for those complications to spill over to the individual’s remaining estate. In some cases, probate litigation may result if those complications cause conflict.
Texas readers may be interested in an estate that could see some issues. It was recently reported that the lead singer of The Cars, Ric Ocasek, was in the midst of a divorce when he passed away in September. He and his wife had been together for 30 years, but because of their pending divorce, Ocasek had taken steps before his passing to write his soon-to-be ex-spouse out of his will. The will included a stipulation that she should not be entitled to an elective share of the estate despite their not being formally divorced because she abandoned him.
As a result, if his spouse attempts to obtain a portion of the estate, it is likely that a dispute will arise. The executor may claim that Ocasek disinherited his wife, but a court may determine otherwise. In the event, it is possible that she could still be entitled to a share. It was noted that the singer’s estate was worth over $5 million.
As this case shows, even when individuals attempt to disinherit family members, it is still possible that state laws could give those individuals a right to some of the estate. Probate litigation to settle such disputes can be long and difficult, but they may also be necessary to ensure that the right outcomes are reached. If Texas residents have concerns over such conflict, they may want to consult with knowledgeable probate attorneys.