We are working remotely and all of us continue to be available by telephone or email. In alignment with national, state and local initiatives as it relates to the coronavirus, we remain open for business and have changed the way we are working for the health and well-being of our employees, and you, our valued clients and colleagues. Read more

Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Common causes of estate disputes

The death of a loved one brings a number of legal and financial challenges, some that are expected and others that can take you by surprise. 

Estate disputes often arise when surviving family members have different ideas about the intentions of the decedent. In a perfect world, the probate and estate administration process will run smoothly with no conflict, but it is always wise to watch for warning signs that can signal potential costly litigation.

A few factors that often lead to estate disputes include:

  • A second marriage: When a person gets married for the second time, he or she often updates estate plans to make sure that the first spouse and children from the first marriage are taken care of in the event of his or her death. Predictably, this can result in bad feelings on the part of the spouse and children from the second marriage. If the estate plans are not updated, the family from the first marriage may feel left out. In any case, having two families competing for a single estate is fertile ground for estate litigation.
  • Signs of undue influence: Wills and other estate planning documents are often called into question when there are suspicions that an individual exercised undue influence over the decedent. People accused of undue influence are often caregivers, friends and family members who had a close relationship with the decedent in his or her waning years. If there were significant changes to an estate plan, and these changes stand to benefit a confidant or caregiver to an unusual degree, it may be a sign that undue influence was at play. Of course, the person accused of undue influence may have been acting in good faith and worthy of an increased portion of the estate. These matters are often the subject of complex estate litigation.
  • Distrust in the executor: Disagreements between beneficiaries and estate executors are common, and often result in estate disputes. Common accusations against executors include breach of fiduciary duty, self dealing, fraud and mismanagement of estate assets. Whether you are an executor or have concerns about the conduct of an executor or other fiduciary, it is important to talk to an attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
Estate disputes can prove very costly and disruptive if not properly handled. It is important to consult with an experienced estate litigation attorney at the earliest sign of conflict. With skilled legal guidance, it is often possible to resolve such disputes in a favorable, cost-effective manner that does not inflect unnecessary damage to the family.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map