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Most common reasons for beneficiary disputes of an estate plan

Estate planning can be a complex process. After all, it involves making decisions about the distribution of assets after a person’s death. Unfortunately, disputes among beneficiaries can and do arise, causing stress and conflict at a time when loved ones should be focusing on healing and remembrance.

Understanding some of the common reasons that beneficiaries dispute estate plans can help you as you prepare yours.

Unclear language in the will

A will that contains ambiguous or unclear language is one of the most common causes of disputes among beneficiaries. If the language of a will does not clearly define the assets or the beneficiaries, it can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements. To prevent such disputes, the person creating the will must ensure that the language is clear and leaves no room for ambiguity.

Perceived unfairness in the distribution of assets

Perceived unfairness in the distribution of assets is another common cause of disputes. If beneficiaries believe that the distribution of assets is unequal or unfair, it can lead to disputes. This is particularly true in cases where one beneficiary receives significantly more than others or if one beneficiary is not included in the will.

Questions about the validity of the will

Questions about the validity of the will can also lead to disputes. These questions can arise if beneficiaries believe that the person who created the will was not of sound mind at the time, was under undue influence from another party or if the will does not meet the legal requirements in California.

Disagreements over the interpretation of the will

Lastly, disagreements over the interpretation of the will can lead to disputes. Even if the language of the will is clear, beneficiaries may disagree over its interpretation. This is particularly common in cases where the will includes complex assets like businesses or real estate.

Understanding these common causes can help you create a thorough and clear estate plan that minimizes the potential for disputes.

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