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By: Scott Grossman on August 28th, 2016

Ten Potential Disputes Over The Beneficiaries Named In A Petition For Probate

During an estate administration, conflicts and disputes over beneficiaries can arise from the very beginning. Often, tensions are running high during the stressful time period immediately following a loved one’s passing. A petition for probate is required to initiate the probate proceedings. The potential for a probate litigation matter to arise can occur as early as the filing of this petition.

What Issues Can Arise Relating to the Petition for Probate?

As part of the petition for probate, the petitioner must list all of the people named in the decedent’s will or codicil. Issues can arise when determining who should be listed in this section. The following are 10 examples of disputes that may occur over the listing of beneficiaries on the petition for probate:

  1. Whether all of the beneficiaries of a beneficiary group were properly named. For example, the petition did not list all of the children of the beneficiary and the will stated “my children” as the beneficiaries.
  2. Whether a beneficiary outlived the decedent for the required amount of time. Contingent beneficiaries should be named on the petition for probate.
  3. Whether a codicil to a will that changes the beneficiaries is valid, or if the original will should stand. Beneficiaries named in either document should be listed on the petition for probate.
  4. Whether all of the executors and alternate executors were properly listed in the petition.
  5. Whether the consul of a foreign nation was given notice of the filing of the petition if a foreign citizen was named as a beneficiary of the will.
  6. Whether the custodian of minor children, who are beneficiaries under the will, was properly listed in the petition.
  7. Whether an organization that was named as a beneficiary was properly listed in the petition.
  8. Whether a pre-deceased beneficiary’s issue should be listed as a beneficiary and inherit that beneficiary’s share under the will.
  9. Whether the petition listed all of the beneficiaries of a trust if the will contained a pour-over provision. If the personal representative of the estate and the trustee of the trust is the same person, all of the beneficiaries of the trust must be named and given proper notice.
  10. Whether the personal representative of a pre-deceased beneficiary was given proper notice of the probate proceedings.

Often, disputes over the naming of beneficiaries can be minimized or avoided by properly completing the petition for probate. To learn more about legal battles that can arise during an estate administration, view our free guide, Winning the Inheritance Battle: The Ultimate Guide to California Trust and Probate Litigation.

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