Heirs may have different ideas about “fair” when a will goes through probate in Louisiana. One relative might believe he/she is “owed” a set amount of money or possession of a particular heirloom. Although someone may feel a specific way, hurt feelings or entitlement do not override directives in a will. However, an executor of the estate may find him/herself dealing with contentious heirs. Hopefully, an executor could take steps to reduce tensions and move through probate without much fighting.
Dealing with discontent before probate
Likely, proper estate planning could lead to fewer difficulties. Of course, the testator makes such decisions and not the executor. However, if the named executor is a close and trusted companion or relative, the person might make suggestions. An attorney could provide insights, as well.
For example, leaving a house and a business to three beneficiaries could prove disastrous if none agree on what to do with the assets. One person might wish to sell now, another may demand to sell later, and another might want to keep the asset. Better estate planning might avoid such a scenario. Perhaps orders to liquidate assets and pay beneficiaries in cash might work out better.
Regardless, even thoughtful planning may lead to dissatisfied beneficiaries. When things become troubling during probate, an executor might need to be more proactive.
Addressing problems during probate
An executor could work things out amicably between parties. One relative may feel he/she should receive something another person acquired, such as a family portrait. The executor could ask the recipient of the portrait if he/she would be willing to part with it.
Sometimes, bringing in other professionals could help. A financial advisor may provide insights that could calm down those who feel they were “shorted” on monetary amounts.
An executor might need to prepare for any challenges that arise. Sometimes, interested parties may contest the will, and a suit follows. That said, filing a lawsuit does not always mean the grounds have merit.
Even careful and thoughtful estate planning might lead to complicated probate proceedings. An attorney could assist the executor if things become overwhelming.