Administrator Ad Litem Pending Will Contest
There is a certain period of time to challenge the validity of a Will in Missouri. If no timely challenge is made, then any challenge is barred and the Will is binding. Assuming that a Will contest is timely initiated, several procedural and substantive mechanisms come into play and become available, particularly as applied to the personal representative.
The personal representative is charged with administrating the estate in accordance with the Will and Missouri probate code. If a Will is timely contested, the Court must grant letters of administration (i.e., a legal document appointing someone to be personal representative) to the individual nominated as personal representative if he/she has no beneficial interest in the estate. Section 473.137.1, RSMo. However, if it appears that the nominated personal representative has an interest adverse to any such contestant of the Will, the Court has discretion to grant letters of administration to a disinterested person to act as personal representative. Section 473.137.3, RSMo. The underlying policy of this rule is to avoid the potential tension and conflict of interest of a personal representative in place who benefits from an allegedly invalid Will.
The administrator ad litem appointed proceeds with the administration of the estate until the Will contest is resolved. From there, the administrator will turn over the reins of the estate to whoever is appointed by the Court to finish the probate administration.
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