Ensure Your Assets Are Taken Care Of
Comprehensive estate administration representation from experienced lawyers. We can help you create legal wills and trusts and ensure assets are passed down to the correct heirs as well as resolve disputes that may arise after a loved one passes away.
Probate Administration & Litigation
Our lawyers can skillfully handle all types of probate litigation. Left on your own, the probate process can be complex - let our team help you quickly resolve any issues that may arise.
What is Probate Litigation?
The term generally refers to legal disputes over the internal administration of trusts or probate estates.
Probate litigation can be a long, expensive process. It happens in cases such as when a trust beneficiary claims that a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty.
Although many cases can be settled before going to trial, the process still generally takes months to resolve and should be handled by an experienced attorney.
We Defend & Prosecute A Variety of Probate Cases
Whether representing beneficiaries of a will or simply ensuring that state guidelines are followed in the event there is no will, our attorneys can help.
Estate executors can face many charges when it comes to proper administration of the estate and complying with state law.
Beneficiaries can contest if the will is valid, how much of the estate they are entitled to, and even the inclusion of other beneficiaries.
A creditor can make a claim on an estate within 3 months of the executor's publication of the Announcement of Appointment.
In cases where trust assets are subject to taxation, we can handle litigation regarding observance of the trust's mission.
Who This Service is For
When a loved one of your has died, his or her property is likely distributed through a court process known as probate. If you have been named as executor or administrator of your loved one's estate, usually it is your best interest to contact a lawyer to help navigate the confusing probate process.
What is the Process for Probate Litigation?
As with other litigation cases, you must begin by filing a complaint.
This initial filing can cover either an adversarial situation - such as removing a trustee - or simply request for a trustee act to be legally approved. From there, the process entails:
Objection - a defendant or interested party has 20 days to file an answer to the initial complaint
Discovery - this 4-month process covers depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and more
Readiness for Trial - once Discovery is completed, parties file a Certificate of Readiness for Trail. The court then schedules for 3-6 months in the future.
Want to Learn More?
"Probate of will" means all steps to establish a will's validity and admit it to probate. A personal representative is appointed by the court to administer the estate. You may be appointed in the last will and testament, but you wouldn't have the authority to act as personal representative until you've petitioned the court and are appointed by them.
Every representative must be supported by an attorney unless "sole interested person" is an attorney. Generally, probate is not complicated but with the help of an attorney, common mistakes can be avoided.
Common problems we’ve seen with estates come from the taxes of the deceased. The personal representative is responsible to pay taxes of the deceased, including all of the estate and all inheritance. Another is in the selling of land. Personal representatives of estates sometimes wish to sell assets of the estate prior to making distributions to beneficiaries of the estate. Much of the time, however, a personal representative does not have the right to sell the property without explicit permission given in the estate plan. A motion of the court must give the authority through the approval from all interested parties.
Trust Administration & Litigation
Do your trustees understand the legal obligations they must fulfill in order to benefit from a trust? We can help guide you in either setting up a trust or in meeting your obligations as a trustee.
Establishing a Trust as Part of Your Estate Plan
Let us help you organize your estate for the most efficient transfer of assets.
Establishing a trust as part of your estate plan can help you avoid estate taxes and accommodate complex internal issues relating to family marriages and alliances.
In the event that someone passes away without establishing a trust or will, a special petition must be filed with the court to determine who should be named as heirs and appoint an Estate Executor. Creating a trust or will early on ensures that your assets are taken care of the way you wish.
We Are Experienced Trust Litigation Attorneys
It is possible that familial disputes may arise, and litigation becomes necessary for resolution. A few examples of common types of trust litigation include:
Breach of Duty
This is where the trustee has breached his or her duty with respect to the provisions of the trust.
Plan of Distribution
When a trustee needs to distribute assets to beneficiaries, the plan must first be court-approved.
A trustee must obtain the court's permission in order to make amendments to an irrevocable trust.
Who This Service is For
Trust litigation usually involves trustee misconduct, yet some trustees may be working tirelessly to do the right thing, yet still face litigation in spite of effort to be honest and responsible as a trustee. Whether you are a beneficiary or a trustee who has encountered a dispute, we can help you avoid court.
Is It Possible to Avoid Court During Trust Litigation?
You may have the option for an informal probate if there is an existing will.
An informal probate happens when an application is filed with the court along with the deceased's will and can be an efficient method to resolving disputes if all parties are in agreement. If a formal probate is necessary, the required legal steps must be taken to resolve the issues within a courtroom.
Want to Learn More?
After the death of an individual who established a Trust, the administration process handles expenses and outstanding debts. This is also a process in gathering assets for distribution, retitling the assets toward beneficiaries, and handling preparation and filing of gifts. Estate and income taxes and eventual distribution to the intended also occurs.
Trust law dictates that each of these necessary steps is handled diligently and precisely.
Trust and estate litigation requires skill and experience of a legal that understands the elaborate legal and financial issues involved. Sometimes there also are delicate emotional cases that also must be handled with care.
Protect the rights of heirs and family members. Litigation is necessary because of poor drafting of the testamentary documents or as a result of disputes among the beneficiaries or the individuals named to manage the assets of the Trust or estate.