You likely hope that you can pass your estate to your children after your death with no problems. However, the probate process does not always go smoothly. Sometimes heirs end up going to court to contest for their share of an estate in addition to other forms of litigation that may tie up an estate in court.
If you know what kinds of estate litigation can occur after your death, you may be able to work towards preventing them or at least prepare your children for the possibilities of litigation that can occur during probate.
Litigation between heirs
U.S. News and World Report explain that sometimes heirs to an estate litigate each other. One beneficiary may believe that he or she has the proper claim to a painting or a kitchen set. The other beneficiary disagrees, citing the wishes of their parent from the will. This can cause a court fight, perhaps on the grounds that a parent drafted a will under undue influence.
Litigation from creditors
Keep in mind that when you die, it does not mean that all of your debts will die with you. Your creditors may come after your estate to satisfy your outstanding expenses. It is possible that your executor will have to defend your estate from creditor claims in court before your heirs can claim their inheritance.
Involvement in a lawsuit
Also, consider what might happen if you become involved in a civil suit. If the suit drags out past your death, your estate could become the target of litigation instead. If so, your executor will have to continue to defend your estate in court. This can drag out probate and rack up expenses that may deprive your estate of much of its assets.
It is possible to avoid some estate litigation by talking with your children about your estate wishes so they understand your decisions and become likely to litigate your estate. You may also explore options to deal with debts so that creditors do not pursue your estate for the outstanding money.