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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

St Paul Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

3 benefits of estate mediation vs. litigation

A contested will can do a lot of damage to a family. When a family member challenges a will, it can bring the worst financial, legal and emotional nightmares. Estate disputes can often last for years.

Is there any alternative to estate litigation? Mediation is a viable option in many cases. Mediating estate conflict is an opportunity to get the parties together before taking the issue to court. Here are some advantages of choosing mediation over litigation. 

Elderly vulnerable to financial exploitation

Financial exploitation of the elderly is a problem in Minnesota and across the country. There are many ways that an elderly person can be exploited, but financial abuse can have serious implications on a person's financial well-being. There are certain risk factors a family should be aware of in order to spot elder financial abuse.

Hugh Hefner's wife left out of his estate plan

Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy media empire, recently died at the age of 91. Minnesotans who were familiar with the mogul's life may remember that he married his third wife in 2012 and she was around 60 years younger than him. In addition to his wife, Hefner is survived by four children from his prior marriages.

Details regarding Hefner's will and estate plan have recently been made public and one very interesting fact is dominating many headlines - Hefner's young wife is not included as a beneficiary under his will. In lieu of allowing his wife to collect from his multi-million dollar fortune, Hefner elected to leave his wealth to his kids, the University of Southern California film school and a variety of charitable organizations.

John Steinbeck estate takes another legal turn

Estate disputes can be a major headache for families. When an estate is in dispute, many family members can be upset and stressed, which can cause hurt feelings and resentment. Any family can have an estate dispute happen to them, including famous authors.

How we can help your family in a trust dispute

Families who have trusts in Minnesota understand the value that the trusts provide their family with the management of assets. Most of the time these trusts are set up in a way where everyone is on the same page and there are minimal disagreements. But, occasionally a trust dispute can arise where a family may be at odds with each other.

Trustee compensation can be tricky

When a trust is established for Minnesota residents, there is often a trustee that is named. The time when a trustee is needed is when the decedent has passed away and the trustee needs to take care of the trust. This can be an emotional time and can cause many family arguments. Although a trustee needs to be compensated for their time, the heirs & beneficiaries should be aware of excessive administrative fees.

What to do if your spouse leaves you out of the will

It can be a shock to learn that your spouse did not include in his or her will. Finding out that you have been left nothing can be quite devastating, especially if your spouse was the main wage earner. If you find yourself in this situation in Minnesota, is there anything you can do?

There might be. Your first step should be learning what the law has to say. Then, you can begin to formulate a plan and see if there is a chance to contest the will and get some money from the estate.

What happens if an heir cannot be found?

Minnesota residents who are involved in the probate portion of a loved one's estate understand how complicated the distribution portion can be. Occasionally an heir is mentioned in an estate but they cannot be found. There are steps that can be taken when this situation arises.

Can you claim inheritance if you weren't mentioned in the will?

When a loved one passes away in Minnesota, they often leave behind a will or other estate planning document. These documents are important in spelling out who will receive their assets upon their death. Sometimes these documents contain errors and are outdated. Or a potential heir is not mentioned. In these cases, there may be a cause for probate litigation.

What are omitted children in Minnesota wills?

Most Minnesota residents understand that when they die, their property is passed to individuals related to them who are called heirs. These individuals can take the property of the deceased individual either based on a statute the state has set up to govern such cases, a process called intestacy, or based upon a last will and testament that has been written by the deceased according to some formal procedures.

While in many cases, this will is submitted to probate, and the personal representative makes the distributions as described in the document, there are times when people can challenge a will or enter the probate process through litigation. One of the instances which can cause this kind of intervention is in cases of omitted, after-born children.People who are alive at the time the will is executed are assumed to have been considered by the testator when creating the devises therein. This means that is the will creator leaves out a person who is alive at the time, it is presumed to be intentional and the probate court will give effect to that intent. However, when a person who would naturally be considered an heir, such as a child of the testator, is not alive when the will is executed, the law may allow that individual to get a share of the estate even if not mentioned in the document.

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