Probate Administration & Litigation
What Is Probate?
Probate is the court supervised process of transferring a deceased person's assets. The court refers to the deceased person as the decedent. In addition, a personal representative must interact with the court to fulfill the wishes of the deceased. Depending on the presence of a Will, the representative will either be the executor named in the Will or a chosen administrator. Ultimately, the court approves and appoints the representative.
With a comprehensive Estate Plan, avoiding probate may be possible. And at the very least, you can minimize any of the complications that may arise during the probate process. Probate Litigation, such as Will Contests and Guardianship challenges, often originate from a lack of an estate plan, or contradictory directives in a Will.
With the help of an experienced attorney, you can minimize the time spent in court and reduce the logistical burden on the deceased's loved ones.
The Probate Administration process takes time, and must follow specific legal procedures. Not only does probate incur court fees, but it also involves personal duties for the appointed representative. Those duties include responsibility to the court, to the property, and financial reporting obligations. For an inexperienced representative, many of these commitments take an undue amount of time. Between interacting with the court, taking inventory, getting appraisals, and financial record keeping, an executor needs proper guidance to navigate the process efficiently.
Read more about Decedent's Estate Administration.
During the probate process, beneficiaries and potential heirs may submit legal challenges. These challenges must be made within the statute of limitations, so seeking legal counsel early is often recommended. Some examples are as follows:
- Contesting the Decedent's Will
- Fighting Guardianship appointments
- Challenging the wording and validity of Trusts
- Suing trustees and representatives for breach of fiduciary duty
These issue may arise from second marriages, sibling rivalry, explicitly excluding a person from being a beneficiary, questioning the mental capacity of the decedent at the signing of their Will, etc... With the emotional nature of the probate court, you must clearly represent your interests. Even more, a poorly appointed representative or trustee may not act in the estate's or beneficiaries' best interests. And while not all litigation can be avoided, a comprehensive Estate Plan can drastically decrease the probability of being challenged.
Estate Planning Experience
Our focus on creating personalized and thorough estate plans gives us an advantage in administering and litigating in the probate courts.
We specifically design estate plans to minimize the burden of probate. Consequently, we understand how to navigate its complex procedures. In addition, we craft documents such as Wills and Trusts to work cooperatively. So in cases of litigation, you can be confident in our ability to find potential pitfalls of a decedent's documents.
We want to help you resolve your probate issue with as much care as possible. These matters are intrinsically personal and emotional. We respect the nature of this process. We strive to get to know our clients and their decedent. Knowing you are in good hands, we can help reduce the stress on the deceased's loved ones.