Challenge to Actor's Will Demonstrates Probate Pitfall
People sometimes choose to take steps to enable the future transfer of their assets to their loved ones outside of the probate process. When you use a last will your estate must be probated, and there are certain pitfalls that go along with this course of action.
One of the pitfalls is the fact that probate can consume a great deal of time. Just how long it will take depends on the jurisdiction in question and the complexity of the case. Even in simple and straightforward, uncontested situations it can take close to a year and no inheritances are distributed until the probate court has closed the estate.
Probate also affords individuals with the opportunity to step forward and challenge the wishes of the deceased. The probate court must hear their arguments, and this can cause even greater delays and there are no guarantees with regard to the outcome of the Will contest.
There has been a piece circulating throughout the news recently that demonstrates one of the pitfalls of probate. The actor Sherman Hemsley passed away on July 24 and he left behind a Will that made his long-time live-in partner Flora Enchinton his sole heir.
The Will is being challenged by a man named Richard Thornton who has suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Though Enchinton says Hemsley never mentioned having any siblings, Thornton contends that he is the actor's brother and by virtue of this relationship he is entitled to inherit the Hemsley estate.
If Sherman Hemsley had made arrangements to have his resources transferred to Enchinton outside of probate, the opportunity to contest a last Will would not have existed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Timothy P Murphy
Experienced estate planning attorneys Campbell CA of the Law Office of Roy W. Litherland offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Campbell CA.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.