Disagreements About The Will: What To Know

When a loved one passes away, it's usually hoped and often assumed that the family will work together to deal with estate matters in a fair and just manner. However, this is just the sort of situation where strong emotions intersect with financial matters and the result can be far from peaceful. When family members disagree about the will, there are several ways to cope. Read on and find out more.

Speak to a Probate Lawyer

No matter who prepared the will, family members are usually free to see a probate lawyer of their choice about the will. Additionally, if the will is not located or there never was a will, family members will also need to speak to a probate lawyer. COVID-19 has created backlogs in many areas and probate law is one of them. Don't wait too long to make an appointment after your loved one passes away or you could be waiting for months to get things done.

If you anticipate disagreements about your loved one's estate, let your probate lawyer know and take their advice on how to proceed. Each state has rules that deal specifically with probate, and your lawyer can lend reassurance by explaining how things work and how the process protects the estate of the deceased. If a will is found, it must be filed, and the probate court will determine its legality and validity. If there is no will, an estate administration will be filed, and the state laws of succession will determine who the beneficiaries of the estate should be. Most spouses are protected regardless of what the will says, and state law usually allows all biological and legally adopted adult children to inherit the estate if no living current spouse is present.

Contesting the Will

If the will is found by the probate court to be valid, anyone with an interest in the estate may file a protest by contesting the will. The law allows a contest to be filed only under certain conditions, though. Just disagreeing with the provisions of the will is not a valid reason to contest it. Speak to a probate lawyer to learn more about valid issues that may be contested.


If valid reasons exist for contesting the will, some probate lawyers will suggest mediation as a way to settle things and keep them out of court. Mediation involves informal meetings in a non-confrontational atmosphere overseen by a professional mediator. When that doesn't settle things, however, it must be litigated in court.

Speak to a probate lawyer to find out more about issues with wills.