PROBATE & ESTATE LITIGATION
Unfortunately when a person passes away, not all family members act in accordance with the decedent’s last wishes. Other times, family members or other parties may have acted improperly before the death of the decedent, for example, by improperly influencing the decedent to execute a will that the decedent should not have executed. Other times, interested parties merely want to ensure that their interests in a probate proceeding are adequately monitored or that the personal representative is acting in accordance with the decedent’s last will and testament. Our attorneys can assist you with any type of claim involving wills and trusts.
ESTATE & TRUST LITIGATION
MY FATHER DIED AND LEFT EVERYTHING TO MY SISTER. CAN I CHALLENGE THE WILL?
You can challenge a will if you have grounds for doing so.
If you believe that your sister unduly influenced your father, that your father lacked the capacity to execute a will, or that the will was not properly executed, you may be able to challenge the will. There may be other grounds as well, but those are the most common.
MY MOTHER DIED AND MY SISTER WAS APPOINTED PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. I DON’T BELIEVE SHE’S ACTING IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE ESTATE. CAN I ASK THE COURT TO HAVE HER REMOVED AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?
You can petition the court to remove a personal representative if you have grounds for doing so.
If you believe the personal representative is not acting in the best interests of the estate, has committed fraud upon the estate, has embezzled funds from the estate, is incompetent, or have other reasonable grounds, you may be successful in petitioning the court to remove the personal representative.
MY MOTHER DIED WITHOUT A WILL. WHO WILL INHERIT HER PROPERTY?
If someone dies without a will, their estate is considered intestate.
If someone dies without a will, their estate is intestate. Their property passes according to the intestacy statute. A surviving spouse has certain rights and typically inherits the bulk of the property (depending on whether there are surviving children). Children typically come next, followed by parents, siblings, etc.
I WANT TO CHALLENGE A WILL; CAN MY ATTORNEY FEES BE PAID BY THE ESTATE OR DO I HAVE TO PAY THE COSTS MYSELF?
In some cases, your attorney fees can be reimbursed by the estate.
If a person successfully opposes the allowance of a will, they will be entitled to receive from the estate necessary expenses and disbursements including reasonable attorneys’ fee incurred.
DOESN'T HAVING A WILL AVOID PROBATE?
Having a will itself does NOT avoid probate. If you want to avoid probate, you may need a trust. A trust will avoid probate as long as it is appropriately funded. However, there are other tools that you may be able to implement to avoid probate, such as transfer on death deeds and beneficiary designations. However, your should discuss these options with an estate planning attorney before implementation.