Estate Litigation: When To Seek Legal Counsel

This can be a delicate and overwhelming matter because it involves complex legal issues, litigation, and the passing of a loved one. In many instances, it can also entail some intense, in-family fighting. At its core, probate and estate litigation center around a deceased person’s assets, how they are distributed, and settling financial affairs. And any of which can lead to disputes and conflicts. Because of how emotionally charged these situations are, you must know when to contact legal counsel. By speaking with an attorney, you can prevent an issue from getting worse. For this reason, we wanted to publish a blog that discusses the intricacies of probate litigation and when involving a lawyer is necessary. 

The Purpose of Wills

Wills are common estate planning tools that simplify the probate process rather than eliminate its need. Not all wills are created equally, and conflicts can still surface even when one has been completed. Skilled estate planning attorneys draft wills with deliberate and precise language representing the client’s wishes while mitigating the potential for disputes. When people use “DIY” wills, ambiguities and vague language can lead to confusion and disputes among the beneficiaries. 

For instance, consider the will that possesses unclear language about how assets must be distributed or fails to address specific, substantial assets. Family members, who likely all had relationships with the deceased, may have different interpretations of the will that was left behind. Although we are namely discussing probate litigation, trusts can lead to litigation too. This can result when the trust lacks proper administration or is managed by a trustee who fails to uphold the responsibilities of the positions. 

Specific Causes of Litigation

Now that you know why litigation can surface, we need to address particular instances when you should seek the advice of legal counsel. The first is about the presence of undue influence. This is when someone is coerced or manipulated into changing their trust or will. Anyone who suspects this has occurred should contact an attorney who can investigate further and advocate for the rightful beneficiaries. Additionally, there could be concerns about a person’s mental capacity when they form their estate planning documents. When an attorney suspects their client isn’t competent enough to make informed decisions regarding their estate and assets, they typically involve a doctor or a neurologist. If they cannot make their own decisions, other family members may pursue guardianships or conservatorships. 

When someone drafts a will or establishes a trust, they must name either an executor (wills) or a trustee (trusts). Anyone who assumes either role is legally required to act in the estate’s and its beneficiaries’ best interests. Family members who suspect someone is mismanaging the trust (or not fulfilling their executor obligations) should contact legal counsel. This extends to anyone who senses that there could be issues of embezzlement or fraud.

Speak with an Attorney at Jayaraman Law 

Probate litigation is as emotionally taxing as it is legally intricate. When you witness or believe anything we have highlighted is happening, you must speak with an experienced attorney who understands probate litigation. At Jayaraman Law, we can look into your concerns and guide you toward a resolution while protecting your rights and interests. To gain the peace of mind you deserve, contact Jayaraman Law to schedule a free consultation. 

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Jayaraman Law

Jayaraman Law focuses on Estate Planning, Business Planning, and Real Estate. Each is executed with a passion for advocacy and serving clients. When your future depends on it, you need an experienced attorney. Our background is rooted in both the private and public sectors. Let our know-how be your greatest asset.