Hunter Hummell


In Epigrams of a Cynic, Ambrose Bierce wrote “death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the estate.” As true as that statement was in 1912, it does not take a cynic to see the role that probate and litigation play in our world today. In 2022, Americans will spend over two billion dollars on probate. The probate system has always been one the most important foundations of the U.S modern legal system. In Missouri alone, there were over 15,000 cases filed in the probate court in 2021. It seems that death and conflict are inseparable. The idea that this is a new phenomenon would be an egregious misconception. For centuries wars have been fought over birthrights, claims, and inheritances. Today, these wars are no longer fought on the battlefield, instead they are being fought in the courtroom. These probate conflicts have become a double-edged sword: for families these conflicts have cost relationships, reputation and wealth, while for estate attorneys these conflicts have provided opportunity.



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