Piro Zinna Cifelli Paris & Genitempo, LLC Attorneys at law
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Respecting someone's legacy could mean challenging their estate

When people have significant assets or deep emotional ties to others, that can directly impact how they choose to split up their assets when they die. The love of others or the desire to do good with their wealth can motivate individuals to create a very specific legacy.

When you are close to someone, it is not uncommon to know their wishes and plans for the future, including what will happen when they die. That position of love and trust could leave you feeling conflicted and upset if the person handling the estate does not seem to follow through with the wishes of your loved one.

You may also feel worried or concerned if the last will or estate plan conflict significantly with what you know your loved one intended. In that situation, you may want to consider whether bringing a challenge against the estate is the right move.

Do you have any documentation about your loved one's actual wishes?

Perhaps you kept in touch via email, meaning you have a written record of what your loved one wanted in their estate. Perhaps it was common knowledge among family members, and people frequently discussed it at family holidays. You might even have audio or video recordings of your loved one discussing their wishes for their legacy.

Regardless of what form the documentation takes, that could certainly help you challenge an estate plan or last will that does not follow those wishes.

Does it seem like the executor isn't following the instructions?

Sometimes, the contents of the last will or estate plan fit perfectly with what you expect. However, when someone else begins handling the estate, their actions don't quite match up with the contents of the will.

If you have reason to believe that the executor of the estate has not handled it properly or has somehow failed to fulfill their obligations as outlined in the last will or estate plan, that may be the reason to bring a challenge against the estate.

Do other family members or friends of the testator agree with your decision?

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to tell if you are truly following through with the wishes of your loved one is to discuss your concerns with other members of their inner circle. If these individuals agree that the current estate plan or the administration of the estate don't seem to follow the wishes of your loved one, that could be reason to pursue challenging the administration of the estate and probate court.

If everyone else in the family seems to think that the executor is doing a good job or the estate matches the wishes of the testator, it could be that your own wishes or emotions have blinded you to the reality of the situation. This is particularly important if you don't have a direct right to challenge the will, but must instead rely on direct family members of the deceased to do so.

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