Probate is the process where the state recognizes a person to manage the estate of a deceased person. The Last Will and Testament of the decedent names an Executor or Personal Representative. Otherwise, if there is no Will, the Court will select an Administrator.
Probate begins when the Executor submits to the Court the Will and death certificate. When no Will exists, Probate begins when an interested party Petitions the Court. They retain an Estate Litigation Attorney and file the appropriate petition.
Probate or Estate Litigation takes place when an interested party makes a claim or raises a dispute during the Probate process. Probate Litigation takes place during this process if:
Will Contested: An interested person wishes to challenge the entire Will’s validity.
Administrator Appointments: If there is no Will and the family cannot agree on who should serve as Administrator. Disputes over who serves as Administrator result in a contested hearing. Having an experienced probate litigation attorney is vital. The judge only allows a short time for evidence and testimony. Improper procedures and evidentiary failures may result in the wrong person gaining control over the estate.
Executor Fee Disputes: When an interested person believes the personal representative has overcharged the estate. An experienced probate litigation attorney can follow the procedures and evidentiary rules to provide the judge with the evidence and testimony to allow the judge to demand fees returned.
Formal Accountings: When an interested person believes the Executor is not providing adequate information.
Spousal Elective Share: When a surviving spouse exercises the right to claim a portion of the estate.
Guardianship Disputes: Though not technically a probate litigation matter, guardianships are often thought of as probate matters as the same court hears them as many other probate litigation matters.
Trustee Removals: If a Will forms a Trust, a dispute over the Trustee’s appointment is Probate Litigation.
If you have any questions about estates, probate litigation, or any other estate law topics, please contact Juris Law & Mediation to schedule a consultation. Our experienced probate litigation attorneys will make it easy for you to understand and provide top notch representation so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.