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What is Probate Litigation?

At its core, the probate litigation process is a legal estate dispute. The basis for it can come from several arguments. All of them center around the ability of an individual to make decisions for themselves. Should a condition prevent them from understanding and making decisions, then probate litigation would be needed.

Prompts for estate dispute can include:

Diminished Capacity

Over time, people lose their ability to make sound decisions. This arises with illness or age. For example, sometimes a person is diagnosed with a mental illness which would make them unable to make their own decisions. Alternatively, as you age, several conditions arise such as Alzheimers or dementia which also impact your ability to make your own decisions. Probate litigation usually arises in such scenarios as a debate over capacity and who should oversee the person’s affairs occurs.


A person suffering from a debilitating disability could be in a situation where they cannot care for their own affairs. Anytime a person’s freedom to make their own decisions comes into question, the court must delve deeply to see if the situation warrants intervention. Probate litigation is the process that a person has to go through to challenge an individual’s ability to make decisions.


Probate litigation happens when a disagreement arises over how a deceased individual’s assets should be distributed. This could be due to the lack of a will or trust. Alternatively, it could be a result of an argument about the distribution of the estate. Whatever the reason, probate litigation is common whenever an estate dispute occurs.

Of course, probate attorneys have experience in navigating the many facets in each of the above trouble spots. If you or your family member is stuck, reach out to John Lewman and he can walk you through the probate litigation process. Call the Lewman Law offices at 925.447.1250.

Filed under Estate Planning Tips

Why Do You Need a Probate Attorney?

So you lost a loved one and now have all sorts of legal and financial headaches. Perhaps your relative left you no instructions, no will, and no trust. Or, maybe your relative is incapacitated. What can you do? You have two options. You could start researching and teaching yourself to handle the legal process known as probate, or you can hire a probate attorney.

Before going into the two options, it’s important to first understand what probate is. It’s the legal process required when a person passes away, to distribute their assets. This occurs if an individual didn’t do a will or trust, with a few exceptions.

With the above said, probate is a legal process. You need to follow certain rules and appear before a judge. The situation can get even more complicated should the probate be challenged by other relatives. The following lists a few scenarios when a probate attorney should be considered.

Complex Legal Matters

If the estate of the deceased is complex with multiple assets, there is a special needs child, or out of state assets, then you should consider bringing a probate attorney who understands and knows how to navigate these intricate matters.

Contested Matters

When going into probate, if you believe other relatives will be creating issues or that the distribution of assets could be contested, then you should hire a probate lawyer. They understand the nuances of the process including the notice requirements. By bringing in an attorney, dhn saving time and money.

Disputing Capacity/Undue Influence

Probate maybe required outside of death. If you have a loved one who has become incapacitated, then you may need to get the court involved to designate someone to oversee him/her. This is not an easy process.

Alternatively, when a loved one is under undue influence or pressure, this may require legal action. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the process.

The probate process is not a simple process. A sophisticated attorney can help in many scenarios. Although you may save money by not using an attorney, the above situations are complex and you would likely save time and money if hiring a probate attorney.

Filed under Estate Planning Tips