The Emotional & Psychological Effects of Probate Litigation - The Evesham Observer

The Emotional & Psychological Effects of Probate Litigation

Evesham Editorial 7th Nov, 2023   0

Nobody expects to find themselves in this situation. Grief itself is one of the biggest foes any one of us will have to face, but combining that grief with the confusion, disappointment and, at times, frustration we feel with a recently deceased loved one who has let us – or the whole family – down with their will is another beast entirely. There are plenty of aspects of probate litigation that will dispute solicitors warn their clients of at the start of the process. Not only does the process typically take many months – even, in some cases, years – to be resolved, but it can also prove costly and, of course, very emotionally taxing.

For those who have been in the situation before, however, going ahead with the process often feels like the only right thing to do. Whether they suspect the testator was misled, a crime was committed, or feel that a promise was broken, righting the wrong they perceive

holds a lot more importance than the financial value attached to any inheritance they may have a claim to.

With that in mind, here are the effects to prepare yourself for if you decide to proceed to probate litigation.

Unstable Relationships

Probate litigation rarely has everyone on the same side. Of course, it’s not unheard of, but disagreements over the state of a will are all too common. Within any family unit, there is a tremendous amount of skin in the game (both from an emotional and a practical standpoint), and questioning one individual’s inheritance often leads to fallouts.

Sometimes, relationships can survive the upheaval of probate litigation. Others, they simply can’t. There’s a chance your relationships with close relatives could be damaged irreparably, particularly if your will dispute hinges on an accusation of fraud, coercion, calumny or deception.

Anger Without Closure

When a will fails to live up to expectations, it’s very normal to feel frustrated and angry with the testator, but this can be incredibly painful. Feeling negatively toward someone you are also grieving, knowing that there is no hope of a frank conversation or reassurance of how much you did mean to them is a hard feeling to process. There are always ways to work through anger toward someone who is no longer with us, but the road back to positive emotions and happy memories won’t always be easy to travel.

Pause on Grief

Probate litigation demands a lot from you. It requires time, energy, conviction and resilience and, even if you don’t feel anger toward the testator, it’s natural to feel as though you have to put a pause on grief.

At the time, this can feel good – it means all those hard emotions are on the shelf for the time being as you see to the practicalities.

But, once it’s all over – and once that final connection to the testator has been broken – then even a favourable outcome can bring with it many difficult, heavy emotions. Whether you are successful or not, the process will be behind you, and all that will remain is the necessity to go on.

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