Probate Litigation is Increasing
Probate Litigation is increasing because: The number of elderly people in our society is increasing; also, many have substantial wealth. Trillions of dollars will be transferred by the current generation in the next decade.
Elderly people in poor health can be an easy mark for others who wish to get rich quick.
Taking advantage of elderly people is facilitated by our society’s desire to avoid probate, e.g. trusts vs. traditional estates, POA’s vs. guardianships, survivorship, POD, TOD, etc. These probate avoidance techniques are unsupervised by a court.
The public is now more aware of its right to contest a will because of the Notice of Probate of Will required under Ohio law.
Beginning Concept: The owner may give property as he chooses:
No one questions the owner’s right (subject to spousal rights) to give his property as he chooses unless the gift is the product of incompetency, undue influence, mistake, fraud, forgery, duress, etc.
Some common situations that lead to probate litigation:
A parent excludes one child in favor of another.
A parent remarries and leaves all assets to his second spouse, disinheriting his child by his first marriage.