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Does the probate process always follow the will precisely?

The passing of a loved one marks a challenging time, and dealing with legal matters only adds to the complexity of the situation. When a person passes away, their will comes into play, outlining their intentions for distributing assets among beneficiaries.

However, there might be instances where the probate process does not strictly follow the written terms of the will. Here are some factors that can impact the process.

Interpreting the will

The court’s priority is to interpret the will and ensure that the language is clear and unambiguous. If the phrasing is uncertain or vague, the court might need to make decisions based on legal guidelines rather than strictly following the will’s wording.

Challenges and claims

When a beneficiary or other interested party challenges the will, it can lead to a court review of the will’s validity. If the court finds any irregularities or invalidates the will, Arkansas intestate law will decide asset distribution procedures.

Changing circumstances

The probate process can be time-consuming, and if circumstances change during the process, things may need adjustment. For instance, the value of assets could fluctuate or debts of the deceased might come to light.

Family and beneficiary agreements

While the will outlines the testator’s wishes, there could be instances where family members or beneficiaries reach an agreement outside of court. These agreements might involve dividing assets differently from what the will dictates. The probate court may choose to honor these agreements, particularly if they are fair to all parties involved and the proposed distribution aligns with legal requirements.

A 2023 survey showed that younger Americans are 63% more likely to have a will today than in 2020. This makes it even more important to understand that while the goal of probate is to honor the testator’s wishes, there are circumstances that might cause things to be different from the terms outlined in the will.