Any will (or revocable living trust) with someone who does not like the outcome can be in danger of an estate contest.
It seems you most often hear of wills for the wealthiest in society being contested.
This makes sense.
It seems like everyone wants a cut of a famous decedent's wealth earned over of lifetime of hard work.
But wills can also be contested by those whose names are not known nationally.
According to The Fort Meyers news-press.com report titled “Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open,” the will of a local community activist was contested by her granddaughter.
The "testatrix" (female maker of a will) was Veronica Shoemaker.
She owned a flower shop in Fort Meyers and was very involved in the community before her death January of 2016.
The will entered probate in June.
In July, granddaughter Latoya Shoemaker challenged the will.
Latoya only was only to receive a tenth of the estate.
What reasons did she cite for her contest of the will?
Veronica had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007.
Accordingly, Latoya claimed her grandmother was not mentally able to make her will.
She also claimed the signatures were forged and not those of her grandmother.
What was the result?
A mediator helped the family come to an agreement.
Not all elements are public, but the estate is to be equally divided among Latoya and the two surviving children of Veronica—Mattie and Bennie.
Latoya will receive the equal part share on behalf of her deceased father.
Mattie took over the running the flower shop when her mother could no longer do so herself.
She will continue to run the shop in honor of the legacy her mother left in the community.
All is well that ends well, it would seem in this case.
Are you concerned about your family contesting a will?
Work early with an experienced estate planning attorney and review often.
Also, take the time to explain your reasoning to your heirs.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: (Fort Meyers FL) news-press.com (April 26, 2017) “Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open”