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Probate Administration & Litigation

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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.

Personal Representatives

Estate executors can face many charges when it comes to proper administration of the estate and complying with state law.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can contest if the will is valid, how much of the estate they are entitled to, and even the inclusion of other beneficiaries.

Creditors

A creditor can make a claim on an estate within 3 months of the executor's publication of the Announcement of Appointment.

Trustees

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.

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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.