There is a range of circumstances that can lead up to the contestment of a will. Significant alterations, disinheritance of children or relatives and other unusual circumstances will at least raise eyebrows, and in some cases, lead to contestment. One of the most common arguments offered in support is that the decedent's diminished capacity was exploited. These are the criteria that constitute diminished capacity.
Last week's post discussed how a Minnesota resident can, even if not able to handle his or her day-to-day affairs, can still be considered legally "competent" to write or revise a will. The implications of this are significant. In effect, a person may not have the ability to make a personal or business decision involving a few dollars but may be perfectly able to wipe a person's hope of a large inheritance.
Last week's post discussed how a Minnesotan who has been wrongfully cut out of a will can challenge the document even if the will seems on the face to be legally and properly signed. While the post mentioned legal ways by which a person can challenge a will, the post also correctly implied that will contests of this nature can be very difficult to prove.
As the readers of this blog know, we have posted many times on the perils of probate litigation but have also discussed how sometimes a dispute is simply unavoidable. Not surprisingly, though, many people over the years, including those in Minnesota, have tried ways to make absolutely certain that the administration of their estate would not lead to family turmoil.
In many of its posts discussing estate disputes, this blog has alluded briefly to the requirements that every resident of this state must follow in order to create a valid will in Minnesota.
Under Minnesota law, a person is not required to have a will. However, a will can be a useful item that maps out how a deceased person's estate will be divided up, and can help insure each person receives the correct inheritance. Whether a person is in their 20s or 80s, it's never too early or too late to create a will. After a will is made, there can be many reasons a person might choose to update it.
Last week's post about the Anna Nicole Smith case described what may well be the worst case scenario for a family or organization embroiled in a dispute over a will or over the property from an estate. In the case of Anna Nicole Smith, her relatives and executors have been left with a high legal bill but with nothing to show for it. For those who cared about her situation, it may seem that her litigation against her husband's estate was for naught.
Many Minnesotans may remember the ongoing saga of the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, a former model and TV personality who died of an overdose some years ago, and the family of her late husband, an oil tycoon. According to some recent reports, the protracted legal battle may have finally come to an end.
Those Minnesota residents who either have been through a probate dispute with other family members or who have followed this blog regularly may be wont to think that it is a common occurrence for a disgruntled family member or friend to challenge a deceased person's will.
When "do-it-yourself" is an option, it can be hard to resist the temptation of bypassing outside assistance. While this method can indeed be great for some tasks, it can also pose an issue when applied to more complex situations. In the age of quick and easy do-it-yourself estate planning, details can get lost in the shuffle, causing expensive problems down the road.