what is PROBATE LITIGATION?

Probate Court proceedings can sometimes be routine and sometimes go uncontested, common examples include:

  • Admitting Wills to Probate, then

  • Appointing Executors, and eventually

  • Distributing Assets to Heirs and Beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, and all too often, Legal Contests Arise relating to one's death.  Court battles among those still living results in needless time and expenses- this is Probate Litigation.

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Common Examples of Probate litigation:

  • Will Contests -- Multiple Wills, one Revoked? Fraud? Undue Influence?

  • Construction Challenges -- Ambiguous? What does it Really Mean?

  • Petitions for Reformation or Modification -- Should it be Changed? Can it be?

  • Lawsuits to Terminate Trust -- Is the Trust Nonproductive? Can it be Terminated?

  • Lawsuits for Breach of Trust -- Did the Trustee Breach? What are the Damages?

  • Petitions to Remove Executor/Administrator -- Should they be Removed? Can they?

high-risk factors for probate litigation:

There are several high-risk factors for Court Battles in Probate, and some examples include: 

  • Sibling Rivalries -- The Competition Doesn't Die with Mom and Dad

  • Second and Third Marriages -- Families Competing for "Their Share"

  • Dysfunctional Families Dynamics -- Can't Anything be Easy?

  • Prior Marriages without Prenuptial Agreements -- Community Property? Separate?

  • Children Born Outside of the Marriage -- A Love Child with "Heirship Rights"

  • Disinherited heirs -- Nothing to Lose, But Much to Gain!

"Counsel Approaching The Bench"- Jeff Leedy

"Counsel Approaching The Bench"- Jeff Leedy

FINDING A probate or estate lawyer:

There are generally two types of Probate lawyers:  (1) Transactional Attorneys who handle basic and routine Estate administration, and (2) Probate Litigators who represent clients in Probate related lawsuits.  When an Estate involves any of the High-risk Factors listed above-- search out a Litigator.  

 

 

Will Contests -

(1) lack of capacity, (2) undue influence, (3) fraud, (4) duress, (5) mistake, or (6) revocation.

Construction Challenges -

Intent of the Testator controls distribution; however, when intent is unclear, Statutory Rules of Construction resolve disputes.

Petitions to Reform/Modify -

Under Construction 6/2019

Lawsuits to Terminate Trust -

Under Construction 6/2019

Lawsuits for

Breach of Trust -

Under Construction 6/2019

Petitions to Remove Executor/Trustee -

Sibling Rivalries, the 'Two-Headed Trustee', and the 'Wrong Person for the Job'.