Appointing beneficiaries to an estate is essential to ensure assets are distributed according to a decedent's wishes and to avoid probate. These assets include a home, life insurance policy, retirement account, or bank account. While it's possible to name anyone as a beneficiary, you may need to hire probate lawyers to contest the designation in some situations. This will keep you from conflicts and ensure the estate is divided smoothly. Keep reading to learn these instances.
1. The Designation is Invalid
A designation may be invalid when it is not signed correctly or witnessed or if the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) owner revoked it and did not appoint a new beneficiary. The law outlines precise requirements for a valid designation, and if any of these are not met, the court may find it null and void. If you want to protect your inheritance, you should contact a lawyer to help you determine if an appointment is valid. These professionals are familiar with the requirements and will tell you if you have a case or not. They'll also handle the paperwork on your behalf and defend your rights in court, saving you from a lot of headaches.
2. The Appointment was Made Under Duress
If the IRA owner made the designation under duress, the court may set it aside. Some instances regarded as duress include physical violence, mental coercion, or threats of financial ruin. An individual may use these methods to get someone to sign away their inheritance, especially if they're in a vulnerable position. If you contest the appointment and win, the court may order that the assets be distributed to the rightful heirs.
An attorney can collect enough evidence to prove the appointment was made under duress. These include sworn statements from witnesses, medical records, and police reports. They'll also gather any other relevant information to support your claim.
3. The Heir is Unfit to Handle the Assets
If a beneficiary cannot handle assets—perhaps because of financial irresponsibility, drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness—you can have the appointment overturned. However, this can only be possible if the court finds these individuals unfit to manage the inheritance. A lawyer can put together evidence showing an appointee is unfit. They'll present their financial and medical records, as well as character witnesses, to the court. If the probate judge agrees, they'll rule in your favor and remove the beneficiary.
Contesting an IRA heir appointment can be challenging because of the many regulations involved. If you want to increase the chances of winning your case, contact probate lawyers. They'll help you navigate the process and ensure your case is heard.