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Common legal grounds for contesting a will

It is often difficult to separate emotions from reason when caught in the predicament of a will contest. Nevertheless, some families simply cannot avoid these cases, especially when situations involve unclear wills. What are the basics of contesting a will in Seattle?

The Balance points out that there are four legal grounds when disputing a will, including those regarding improper documentation. When a last will and testament are not signed in conformity with state laws, problems can arise when heirs do not agree with the details of the will. Each state contains its own laws surrounding the signing of wills, and some require the Testator and witnesses to be in the same room -- each signing the will with the others watching. When there is a misstep in this procedure, a will can be found invalid. Other legal grounds for contesting a will include, but are not limited, to:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity on behalf of the Testator
  • The will was procured by fraud 
  • Testator was unduly influenced into signing a will   

What does a will executor do?

If you have been considering putting together a new will or even updating your will, evaluating your choice of who to name as the executor of your will should be part of the tasks you face. Many people in Washington might blindly assume that the best person for this job is a spouse, a parent or an adult child. However, depending upon the situation that may or may not be the case.

Appointing someone to be the executor of your will should not be thought of as an honor but truly as a job. This person should have the judgement and financial savvy necessary to make the right decisions on your behalf. Therefore, emotion should be taken out of the equation when selecting an executor.

Neighborhood disputes in seattle

When most Seattle residents think of neighbor disputes, loud dogs and motorcycles may be the first topics to come to mind. Yet property line disputes are another common form of neighbor-related discord, and can bring about costly consequences. 

The last situation most residents would prefer to experience is that of neighbor disputes. Not only can tension between neighbors create distress; unresolved disagreements can last for years and, in certain predicaments, can even reduce the overall value of a home. Yet when neighbors fight together for a common cause, the legal tables can quickly turn.

The many reasons to challenge a will

While no one wants to challenge a will, there could come a time when you have no choice but to learn more about your legal rights.

If you're thinking about challenging a will, here's something you need to know: You must have a good reason for doing so. You don't want to go down this path because you feel slighted by the person who passed on.

Potential problems for wills

Washington residents who have taken the prudent step of creating their estate plan should be able to feel confident that their plans will be executed as they have outlined. However, that may not necessarily happen so easily in all cases. There are some specific situations in which people may be able to file legitimate contests to a person's will. Understanding these is important to ideally prevent from being in this situation.

As explained by The Balance, one area of concern includes the potential that the person who created the will was in some manner forced to do so by another person, quite likely someone who is set to receive a reasonable share of the inheritance. This is referred to as undue influence. Another point that may justify a will being contested is when the person who developed the will did not have the mental capacity to actually do so. For example, a person with advanced dementia or Alzheimer's may not have the judgement necessary to make some estate planning decisions.

Things to remember before taking your case to court

There are many people who are disappointed when the estate of a loved one is carried out. Someone may have received property that they expected to get, and it can cause issues that result in litigation between the parties.

We wanted to discuss some important things to keep in mind about estate litigation. Many people focus on the problems and not the solutions to the problems, which in the end, only makes things much harder to resolve. By taking the time to think about your case and consult with an experienced attorney, you can put yourself in a much better position toward achieving your goals.

Neighbor disputes: is there a solution?

Confrontations and disagreements are two experiences most Seattle residents would prefer to avoid. But what if such incidents are simply unavoidable? The background noise of city life is one that is typically ignored, yet there are other distractions that can make doing so especially difficult. As with most states, Washington generally cannot become involved in neighbor disputes. However, there are ways to to minimize such predicaments that can help individuals avoid the involvement of a third party altogether.

Most Seattle residents can attest to some level of neighbor-related frustration, whether it is due to noise, unappealing odors or inappropriate public behavior. The Seattle Times reported on a local editor who experienced all three of these neighbor-related disruptions, which eventually played a part in her choice to move away. The Times points out that, while a home in disarray can constitute as a city code violation, foul odors and other unpleasantries cannot be officially reported anywhere. Furthermore, experts note that a house near troublesome property can result in up to a 10 percent reduction in the house's price. It is true that each individual has different levels of tolerances regarding neighbor disruptions, but the news report also shares the disconcerting fact that there are varying guidelines on what information real estate agents can disclose to potential buyers.

Remarriages and estate planning

If you are one of the many people in Washington State whose upcoming nuptials represent a second or subsequent trip down the aisle for either you or your future spouse, it is essential that you pay attention to your long-term estate planning. There are multiple potential pitfalls of ignoring this in your situation and one of the biggest is the possibility of family discord after you or your spouse die.

You and your partner may be madly in love but your children and their children may feel quite differently about each other. In addition, the children may feel very nervous about what may eventually happen to family heirlooms or other assets after one or both parents are gone. Forbes explains that a solid estate plan can help put many of these fears to rest up front and may actually facilitate a smoother blending of families even if by separating assets to some degree.

Navigating inheritance disputes

Any close family member's death can bring dark and distressing times, especially when that family member left behind a will that the surviving family do not agree upon. Some individuals dealing with the death of a family member in Seattle are shocked when they discover that other immediate family received a larger inheritance than their own. This conflict is difficult to tackle because the writer of the will inevitably cannot clarify details, and those attempting to find a solution may fight for their rights to inheritance for years.

Washington's inheritance law holds that wills are generally first prioritized by spouses, followed by children, siblings and grandparents. While this may seem simple, inheritance laws can be complex and challenging to navigate, especially if the will is not divided evenly among immediate family.

Noisy dogs and residents' rights

"Home Sweet Home" is the well-known phrase to describe a place of residence in America, but not when neighbors surrounding that residence make a home unbearable. Loud neighbors in Seattle not only disrupt daily life, but can also negatively impact one's emotional and physical wellbeing.

Loud dogs belonging to neighbors can also create frustration and distraction, and such incidents can make resolutions seem more difficult. However, there are a number of routes local residents can take when experiencing jarring residential issues such as loud and unruly pets.

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Riach Gese Jacobs, PLLC
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P.O. Box 1067
Lynnwood, WA 98046

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