Probate disputes are not only increasing in Texas, but also overseas. This article discusses the growing number of disputes in the UK. The primary reason cited is the growing of estates with more than £300,000 in assets (about $450,000):
Lawyers expect the surge in will disputes to continue. ‘A huge swathe of the population has entered into the bracket whereby disputing the will makes economic sense, even though litigation is expensive,’ says Paul Hewitt of Withers.
The article also gives a bit of advice:
The best advice is to try to settle. As well as costing a great deal of money, court decisions do not tend to provide ‘win-win’ solutions. At the start of a dispute, relationships can break down totally between estranged family members. But most cases settle when clients start paying the ongoing legal costs.
Copeland is used to organising ‘family meetings’ to try to negotiate settlements. ‘At the start, we encourage both sides to read out a statement, or to outline their concerns and what they want to achieve,’ she says. ‘That tends to humanise the situation and take a lot of heat out of it.’ Compromises usually follow.
Settlement is often preferred for a number of reasons, including avoiding the uncertainty of trial, reducing family acrimony, and saving legal fees and expenses. But settlement depends on both sides being reasonable and sometimes going to trial is the only option.