As a seasoned probate realtor in Tucson, Arizona, I have encountered numerous cases where estate litigation arises due to various reasons. Estate litigation, often a complex and emotionally charged process, involves contesting the validity of a will or addressing disputes related to inheritance. Understanding the typical causes behind such disputes is crucial for anyone involved in estate planning or probate proceedings.

  1. 1. Dying Intestate: The Absence of a Final Will

One of the primary triggers for estate litigation is when an individual passes away without a valid will, a situation commonly referred to as dying intestate. In such cases, state laws dictate how the deceased’s assets will be distributed, which may not align with their wishes. This lack of clarity and direction can lead to disputes among potential heirs and beneficiaries, necessitating legal intervention to resolve conflicts.

  1. 2. Lack of Mental Capacity

Another common reason for contesting a will is the assertion that the deceased lacked the mental capacity to make sound decisions regarding their estate. If it can be demonstrated that the individual was not of sound mind or was under undue influence at the time of creating the will, its validity may be called into question. This issue often requires thorough examination of medical records, witness testimonies, and other evidence to determine the mental state of the deceased.

  1. 3. Lack of Clarity in the Will

Even when a will exists, disputes may arise if its language is ambiguous or open to interpretation. Unclear provisions regarding the distribution of assets, identification of beneficiaries, or instructions for specific situations can sow seeds of discord among family members. Resolving such disputes often involves legal scrutiny of the language used in the will and the intentions of the deceased, requiring expert guidance to navigate complex legal intricacies.

  1. 4. Undue Influence or Coercion

Instances of undue influence or coercion exerted on the testator (the individual making the will) can invalidate the document and trigger estate litigation. This occurs when someone manipulates or pressures the testator into making decisions that do not reflect their true intentions. Proving undue influence typically involves presenting evidence of the relationship dynamics and any instances of coercion or manipulation exerted on the deceased.

  1. 5. Disputed Claims of Property Ownership

Disputes over property ownership can also spark estate litigation, particularly when conflicting claims arise among potential heirs or beneficiaries. Whether due to unclear title deeds, undocumented agreements, or contested inheritance rights, resolving such disputes often requires legal expertise and thorough documentation to establish rightful ownership and distribution of assets.

  1. 6. Mismanagement by the Executor of the Will

In some cases, disputes may arise due to allegations of mismanagement or misconduct by the executor appointed to oversee the administration of the estate. If beneficiaries believe that the executor is not fulfilling their duties impartially or is acting in self-interest, they may seek legal recourse to address grievances and ensure fair distribution of assets.


While these are typical causes for estate litigation, it’s essential to recognize that each case is unique and may involve additional complexities. As a probate realtor dedicated to serving the Tucson community, I understand the importance of addressing these issues with sensitivity, professionalism, and expertise. Whether you’re navigating the complexities of estate planning or facing challenges in probate proceedings, seeking guidance from knowledgeable legal and real estate professionals can help safeguard your interests and facilitate a smoother resolution of disputes.

In conclusion, by shedding light on the common triggers for estate litigation, I aim to empower individuals to make informed decisions and take proactive steps to protect their estate assets and legacy. For personalized assistance and expert advice tailored to your specific situation, feel free to reach out to me, Ryan Comstock, your trusted probate realtor in Tucson, AZ.

Remember, proactive planning today can prevent disputes tomorrow, ensuring a more secure and harmonious future for you and your loved ones.