When a loved one dies, it’s likely that their estate will go through the probate process to ensure that the wishes of the deceased get carried out. This can be a difficult process, especially if there are disagreements among the heirs at law about how to divide up the estate.
Who are heirs at law?
Heirs at law are the individuals who are legally entitled to inherit the estate of a person who has died. The laws of each state determine who these individuals are, but typically, they include spouses, children, and parents of the deceased.
In many cases, estate administration goes smoothly, but in others, there can be significant disputes among the heirs at law about how to divide up property. Disputes typically arise over items of sentimental value, or when a will is not properly drawn up and leaves the estate open to interpretation on the part of relatives.
Disputes may also arise if someone who feels that they should have been named as an heir contests the estate. In such cases, it can be up to a court to determine who’s entitled to inherit the property.
Probate process when there’s no will
If there is a dispute among the heirs at law, or if there is no will, the estate will go through a more complex estate administration and probate process. This can be time-consuming and expensive as the court will need to determine who should inherit the property.
In some cases, the estate may have to get divided among several individuals or even sold in order to provide financial compensation to those who’re entitled to it.
Estate administration and probate can get complicated and that’s why estate planning is important – it avoids disputes among heirs at law. Among other things, having a comprehensive will and establishing a trust can help ensure that your estate gets divided per your wishes.