Back to the Learning Center

By: Scott Grossman on September 26th, 2016

Probate Litigation Not Always Worth Pursuing

Is it Worth Pursuing?

I oftentimes receive calls from potential clients asking me if opening probate is worth pursuing. The short answer is it depends. What it depends on is whether or not there’s any money or assets that the decedent left behind. There’s no reason to go through the time and expense of opening up a probate or filing a pleading to contest the probate if there simply no money to be had.

Here’s an example from a recent call. A young man asked me about filing probate for his father’s estate. The young man was one of two children from two separate mothers. He was concerned that his stepbrother would wind up getting everything if he didn’t file for probate. The man explained to me that his father made a great deal of money, but spent even more. The home he had been living in he had purchased with his girlfriend but had transferred to her his interest in the house over a decade ago. His father was an accomplished software engineer that worked for a large company. The man went on to explain to me the numerous debts his father had left behind due his father’s inability to set aside any money for the future.

What came of this conversation was the realization that this young man’s father had made a tremendous amount of money but he had spent everything he made and then some.  A capable software engineer who should’ve left a sizable estate wound up leaving nothing but debts when he died.  There was no money and there were no assets. There is no reason for this young man to spend his money and time to pursue this case.