What is Probate Litigation?
Probate refers to a court-supervised process used to determine who will inherit from a person’s estate once they pass away. Typically, the probate process involves admitting a deceased person’s Will in probate court (if there is a Will). Once the Will is admitted to probate, a personal representative is often appointed to initiate the estate administration process to pay estate expenses and administer the decedent’s assets to the correct heirs according to the Will.
Sometimes the probate process can be complicated and stressful, causing disputes between heirs and family members. When conflicts arise, probate litigation takes place to resolve the disputes related to the estate. In these cases, the personal representative may need to retain an experienced probate litigation attorney. A Melbourne probate attorney at Lacey Lyons Rezanka has experience handling probate litigation and can assist with your case by helping you through the litigation process every step of the way. Our probate attorney offers creative solutions to a variety of different types of estate disputes, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty by Personal Representative or Trustee. The fiduciary of an estate or trust owes certain duties to its beneficiaries, such as the duty of loyalty, a duty to account for and inform, and a duty to administer the estate prudently. When a beneficiary of an estate believes a breach of one of these duties has taken place, fiduciary probate litigation may be initiated.
- Will and Trust Contests. When the terms of a Will or trust are vague or subject to multiple interpretations, its meaning may be disputed, leading to probate litigation in court.
- Wrongful Administration of Assets. When an asset is administered improperly and not according to the Will, disputes may arise about the wrongful transfer of the asset.
- Disputes Over Spousal Rights. When a deceased individual has had multiple marriages, disputes may arise from prior spouses or children from a previous marriage regarding inheritance matters.
- Estate Accounting Issues. Keeping a detailed accounting of an estate’s income, assets, and expenses can be burdensome for some personal representatives, especially those without experience in accounting. Accordingly, sometimes errors can be made, and questions can arise about how the estate’s income or assets were spent or administered.
If you have questions about disputes that have arisen in your probate litigation case, contact our office today for a legal consultation about resolving the probate disputes in your case.
What are Examples of Probate Disputes?
Because the estate administration process can be challenging with regard to various tax and business-related considerations and personal, emotional family relationships, administering an estate can often lead to disputes over decisions that need to be made. Below are some examples of common probate disputes that should be taken into account when going through the estate planning process to help your loved ones avoid probate litigation altogether:
- Disputes Against Personal Representatives. In some estate cases, interested parties may not be happy with the performance of the personal representative, which may lead to arguments, especially when it comes to how assets are distributed or calculated.
- Multiple Marriages. Sometimes multiple marriages can lead to disputes over a Will for several different reasons, such as conflicts between various heirs (e.g., where a first spouse and children inherit less or nothing at all when there is a second spouse and children).
- Disinherited Family Members. When certain family members are disinherited, sometimes estate disputes arise. The disinherited family member may feel like they were left out of the deceased’s Will because of issues such as undue influence or fraud.
- Issues with Estate Planning Documents at Death. Another issue that causes estate litigation is a problem with the estate planning documents themselves. Sometimes estate documents are overly complicated for unclear reasons, which can cause confusion and conflict between interested parties.
Whatever the dispute is in your probate litigation case, an experienced Melbourne probate attorney at Lacey Lyons Rezanka can help you resolve it.
Who is Involved in a Probate Dispute Case?
Probate litigation often involves various parties, including, for example, the personal representative of the estate, an heir of the estate, the deceased’s spouse, or, in some situations, friends or family members who believe that they were wrongfully disinherited. Suppose you are a party who has been brought into a probate case. In that case, an experienced Melbourne probate litigation lawyer can help guide you through the process and help see your estate administration case through to completion.
How Can a Melbourne Probate Litigation Attorney Help?
Involving a probate litigation attorney early on in your case may help reduce or even prevent disputes. Our attorneys know the probate administration process from beginning to end and can help navigate its complexities. We can help your family submit your loved one’s Will to probate and open up an estate correctly from the very beginning. We take great pride in helping our clients with their estate accounting, ensuring that all assets and expenses are properly accounted for so there are no questions about the release of estate income and assets.
In the event a dispute arises during the course of your case, our attorneys are experienced with negotiating and advocating in the courtroom, when necessary, to resolve the probate dispute. If you need assistance with your probate estate case, contact a Melbourne probate litigation lawyer at Lacey Lyons Rezanka today. Let us help take the stress off of you so you can focus on what is most important - mourning the death of your loved one.
Are You Experiencing Issues With Your Probate Case? Contact a Melbourne Probate Litigation Lawyer Today
Are you involved in an estate administration case? Do you have questions about probate litigation in Florida? If so, an experienced Melbourne probate litigation lawyer at Lacey Lyons Rezanka can help. Contact us online for assistance with your case.