Siblings argue with each other over inheritance

What if My Loved One Gave Me Something That Family Now Wants Back?

Russell Manning Attorney Jan. 19, 2024

When someone passes away, their belongings and assets are often distributed according to their will or state law. This can sometimes lead to disputes within families, especially if a loved one has left something behind that is valuable or sentimental to multiple family members and did not state in their will who should receive it. 

However, even if the deceased left behind an estate plan with clearly outlined instructions and wishes, it's still not uncommon for family members who consider themselves beneficiaries to start voicing what they believe should be theirs, leading to arguments and disputes. There may also be a time when a loved one gives you something while they were still alive that is now being contested by other family members.  

If you find yourself in any sort of estate predicament, know that there is help available. If you're in Corpus Christi, South Texas, or anywhere in the Coastal Bend area, my firm, Russell Manning Attorney at Law, can address all your questions and concerns regarding disputes over inheritances.  

Did You Inherit Something Through Intestate Succession That Family Now Wants Back?

Intestate succession occurs when someone passes away without leaving behind a will. In these cases, state probate law determines who inherits the deceased's assets and belongings.  

This process can often lead to disputes within families if certain family members feel that they were unfairly left out of the inheritance or if they believe that an item should have been given to them instead of another. 

If you have inherited something through intestate succession and other family members are now contesting it, it's important to seek legal advice. An experienced estate litigation lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight for what is rightfully yours. 

What if You Received a Gift from a Loved One While They Were Still Alive?

In some cases, a loved one may have given you a gift while they were still alive that is now being contested by other family members. This can be a tricky situation, as the gift may have been given to you out of love and affection, rather than with the intention of it being included in your inheritance. 

If this is the case, it's important to gather any evidence or documentation that supports the fact that the gift was given to you and not intended to be part of your inheritance. This could include a written note from the deceased, witnesses who can attest to the fact that it was a gift, or any other relevant information. 

What if Your Loved One Left You Something in Their Will but Other Family Members Are Contesting It?

If your loved one left you something in their will and other family members are now contesting it, the best course of action is to seek legal advice. An estate and probate litigation lawyer can review the language in the will, as well as any evidence or documentation that supports your claim, and help you determine the best way to defend your inheritance. They can also represent your best interests should your case ever make it to court.  

Preventing Disputes Over Wills 

When it comes to wills, the most common disputes revolve around their legality and allegations of undue influence on the testator. During probate, those named in the will, heirs, creditors, and even the executor can challenge its validity. Disputes may arise over whether the will is the latest version or if someone exerted undue influence to gain a larger share or valuable assets. Charges of undue influence can also involve questioning the mental competence of the testator.

To prevent disputes, it's best to address them before they happen. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, like myself, who can keep a copy of your will or trust and testify to your mental competence and the version being brought to probate proceedings is highly recommended. The wording in these documents must be crystal clear to avoid confusion about your intentions. I can ensure your document expresses everything precisely and in compliance with the law. 

Prevention Strategies: Estate Planning Tools to Consider

There are several estate planning tools you may want to consider implementing to prevent disputes over your will and ensure your wishes are carried out as intended. These include: 

  • Trusts: A trust can hold assets for beneficiaries while bypassing probate, reducing the risk of disputes over inheritance. You can also set specific conditions for how the assets should be used or distributed. 

  • Power of Attorney: Granting someone power of attorney allows them to handle your financial and legal affairs if you become incapacitated, avoiding disputes over who should make decisions on your behalf. 

Don't Hesitate to Seek Legal Help

If an estate dispute has already arisen or if you're looking to create or revise your existing estate plan, I encourage you to contact my office, Russell Manning Attorney at Law. As an estate lawyer, I take the time to understand your values and priorities in life, allowing me to tailor your estate plan to better reflect your wishes.  

Don't hesitate to get in touch today to start tackling or preventing any estate disputes. Remember, it's never too early to start planning for the future. Let's work together to make sure you and your legacy are secure. 

Whether you're in Corpus Christi, South Texas, the Coastal Bend area, Bee County, Kleberg County, Nueces County, Live Oak County, Jim Wells County, Aransas County, or Victoria County, Texas, I'm here to assist you.