Probate is a legal process, but it is also a highly emotional process. Often, it can be a challenge for parties to separate their emotions from the legal demands but doing so – at least to some extent – can make probate a little easier.
If you have recently lost someone and probate is in your near future, consider the following ways that your emotions may not be working in your favor.
How emotions can work against you
- They can cloud judgment. Feelings of grief and anger can skew your perception of things like administrative duties and performance. For instance, instead of making decisions based on what the decedent would have wanted, people may tend to make decisions that make them feel better. And in the haze of a painful time, parties might take risks or make mistakes that wind up putting them at risk of getting in real legal trouble.
- They can shift focus. Instead of addressing various estate planning matters, parties can become distracted by fights with family members or arguments over insignificant details. Undoubtedly, people struggle with confronting the realities of a loss, but allowing emotions to shift focus away from the task at hand can create costly delays.
- They can create new problems. The probate process could be going smoothly, but emotions like jealousy or resentment could derail the process by creating clashes and legal challenges.
Of course, there is no way to set aside emotions completely. Nor is there any expectation of this. However, awareness of how emotions affect this painful experience can allow you to recognize avoidable missteps that could derail the process.
Balancing emotion and intellect
As someone who may be dealing with immense grief, sadness and loss, the idea of navigating the legal process without emotion can seem all but impossible. Thankfully, this is not something that anyone needs to do.
Parties can work with an attorney who can manage the situation. They can also rely on financial professionals to help with any complicated property or asset issue. Further, parties can also benefit from seeking help from therapists or counselors.
The toll of any loss can be devastating, but there are ways through this difficult time.