Hire a Probate Litigation Attorney

When Should You A Hire a Probate Litigation Attorney?

Updated on March 25, 2024

Many of us have witnessed, heard stories of, watched movies about, and/or experienced cases when after a person dies, and an all out war begins among family members, all staking claim in the assets of the deceased. In this post, we discuss the topic of probate, and touch on instances where it may be in someone’s best interest to seek and hire a probate litigation attorney.

What is Probate Litigation?

Probate litigation is a legal process that occurs when there are disputes or challenges regarding the administration of a deceased person’s estate. It involves resolving conflicts related to the distribution of assets, validity of a will, interpretation of legal documents or a trust, and other matters arising during the probate process. This area of law is complex and requires specialized knowledge to navigate effectively.

The Process of Probate

To understand probate litigation, it’s essential to grasp the probate process itself. Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, which typically involves:

  1. Validating the Will: If the deceased left a will, it must be presented to the court to determine its validity. The court examines the document to ensure it meets legal requirements and was executed without undue influence or coercion.
  2. Appointing an Executor or Personal Representative: The court appoints an individual or entity to manage the estate, pay debts, and distribute assets according to the terms of the will or state law if there is no will.
  3. Identifying and Valuing Assets: The executor identifies and gathers the deceased person’s assets, such as property, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings. These assets are then appraised to determine their value.
  4. Paying Debts and Taxes: Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, the executor must settle any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the estate. This includes funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and taxes.
  5. Distributing Assets: Once debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or intestacy laws if there is no will.
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When To Hire A Probate Litigation Attorney

What is the Cause for Probate Litigation?

Probate litigation arises when there are disputes or disagreements during any stage of the probate process. Common reasons for probate litigation include:

  • Will Contests: This occurs when someone challenges the validity of the deceased person’s will. Reasons for contesting a will may include allegations of fraud, undue influence, lack of capacity, or improper execution.
  • Disputes Among Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries may disagree over the interpretation of the will, the distribution of assets, or the actions of the executor. These disputes can escalate into litigation if they cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation.
  • Claims Against the Estate: Creditors or other parties may file claims against the estate for unpaid debts, taxes, or other obligations. The executor must evaluate these claims and defend the estate’s interests in court if necessary.
  • Executor Misconduct: If the executor breaches their fiduciary duties or acts negligently or fraudulently, beneficiaries or other interested parties may seek to remove the executor or hold them accountable through litigation.

Probate litigation is essential for ensuring that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out correctly and that beneficiaries receive their rightful inheritance. However, it can be emotionally and financially draining for all parties involved. Therefore, it’s crucial to have competent legal representation to navigate the complexities of probate litigation.

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Death and Disputes

If you are searching for a probate litigation attorney, you are likely dealing with the death of someone you know such a friend or family member who has some property that needs to be appropriately accounted for and distributed.

While not all these situations are contentious, unfortunately there are situations where the death of someone creates a dispute over their property.

It can be like turkey vultures descending upon roadkill with furious activity.  It is important in such a case that you speak with a lawyer experienced with the “Probate” process as it involves a very specialized set of rules. In fact, California has a Probate Code that contains rules regarding the probate process.

Hire A Probate Litigation Attorney

 Reasons to Hire a Probate Litigation Attorney

A probate litigation attorney specializes in resolving disputes related to estate administration and probate proceedings. They possess in-depth knowledge of probate law, estate planning, and litigation strategies. Here are some reasons why someone might hire one:

  • Legal Expertise: Probate litigation attorneys have specialized knowledge and experience in handling complex legal matters related to estate administration and probate disputes. They understand the intricacies of probate law and can navigate the court system effectively on behalf of their clients.
  • Conflict Resolution: Probate litigation attorneys are skilled negotiators and mediators who can help parties reach amicable resolutions to disputes without the need for costly and protracted litigation. They strive to find practical solutions that protect their clients’ interests while minimizing conflict and preserving family relationships.
  • Litigation Representation: In cases where litigation is unavoidable, probate litigation attorneys provide aggressive representation in court. They advocate for their clients’ rights and interests, presenting persuasive arguments and evidence to support their case.
  • Protecting Vulnerable Parties: In cases involving vulnerable beneficiaries, such as minors, incapacitated individuals, or elderly adults, probate litigation attorneys act as advocates to ensure their interests are protected. They may petition the court to appoint guardians or conservators and oversee the proper management of assets on behalf of these individuals.
  • Complex Legal Issues: Probate litigation often involves complex legal issues, such as will contests, trust disputes, tax implications, and fiduciary duties. Probate litigation attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to address these issues effectively and achieve favorable outcomes for their clients.
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Conclusion

In summary, probate litigation is a vital aspect of estate administration that helps resolve disputes and ensure the proper distribution of assets according to the deceased person’s wishes. It requires specialized legal expertise to navigate effectively, which is why someone would hire a probate litigation attorney to represent their interests and protect their rights during the probate process.

At Schorr Law, we’ve litigated through trial many probate disputes and understand that this process is far from easy on all parties involved. We approach with a level of care, the attention to detail, and the sensitivity required to attain an amicable outcome given the unique circumstances of each case. If you or someone you know are experiencing issues dealing with an estate or a will, contact our office today to set up a consultation and speak with one of our qualified probate litigation attorneys in Los Angeles. Call us at (310) 954-1877, or send us a message here.

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