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Chicago Probate LawyerProbate is a legal process that is followed after a person's death, and it ensures that the wishes of the decedent are carried out according to their instructions. Probate can help to provide closure to family members of deceased people, giving them the assurance that their loved one's final affairs have been settled correctly. Sometimes, however, disputes can arise during this process, which can cause significant delays and legal expenses while affecting the relationships between different heirs and beneficiaries. It is important to understand when these disputes can occur and what family members can do if they do arise. 

When Can Probate Disputes Arise? 

Disputes during the probate process most commonly occur when an individual is unhappy with the decisions the decedent made in their will or believes that the will is invalid. However, a will generally cannot be legally challenged just because someone is unhappy with their inheritance. Instead, these challenges will usually be based on the validity of the will, and a person may claim that the will filed in court during the probate process does not reflect the true intentions of the deceased person. Reasons for challenging a will may include:

  • Fraud - A person may believe that a will that was filed is different from the document that was originally signed by their loved one. They may believe that the will was altered by someone else after it was signed or that a document was created without the decedent's knowledge, and their signature was forged by someone else. A person may also claim that the decedent was tricked into signing a will, such as when someone presented them with a document that they claimed was an insurance policy that needed to be signed.

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Probate attorney in Cook County for GuardianshipThere are a variety of situations where a person may become unable to fully care for themselves or provide for their own ongoing needs. In some cases, a person may have developmental disabilities that prevent them from working full-time while also caring for household responsibilities, whereas in others, an elderly person or someone suffering from a debilitating injury or health condition may require assistance with daily tasks and activities. In these situations, legal guardianship, which is established in a probate court, can ensure that a person’s needs will be provided for.

Types of Adult Guardianship

Guardianships fall into two main categories depending on whether a guardian will be responsible for a person’s financial affairs or their personal needs. A guardian of the person will provide for a person’s ongoing care and comfort while ensuring that their health-related needs are met, that they have the appropriate living arrangements, and that they receive the proper education and professional services. A guardian of the person is required to help a person maintain as much independence and self-reliance as possible while offering the necessary support to ensure that they can be safe, happy, and healthy.

A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing a person’s property and finances. This may include making purchases or completing transactions on behalf of the person, entering into contracts, managing benefits such as life insurance or retirement plans, and paying expenses, debts, or taxes. A guardian of the estate is required to manage a person’s finances frugally while using the person’s assets to provide for the needs of themselves and their dependents.

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