If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, then you may be on your way to sorting out the probate process. Are you concerned that you might need probate litigation? This can be a stressful time for a number of reasons, but especially if there’s any conflict over how a loved one’s belongings are distributed among beneficiaries. Sometimes there are disagreements even if the deceased left behind a will and other estate planning documents. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with an experienced probate lawyer.
Probate litigation can be emotionally and financially costly, so let’s first review some warning signs to give you a better sense for when it might be time to call a probate lawyer to represent you in settling the estate.
Do You Need Probate Litigation?
The need for probate litigation arises whenever there’s a disagreement about the probate process. Most often, this occurs when a surviving family member makes a claim or raises a dispute. A petition is filed and the court must address is.
Times When Probate Litigation is Necessary
1) A Contested Will
This is a common plot in films—the missing, contested, or forged will. If there are questions about the validity of any estate planning documents, litigation is likely inevitable in order to come to a resolution.
2) The Executor’s Responsibility
If it seems that the executor of the estate isn’t handling their role properly or providing enough transparency, this is a clear warning sign that should be explored further in more detail.
3) Spousal Elective Share
A spouse can’t be legally excluded from the estate unless there was a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In this case, the spouse has a legal right to claim a share of the estate. What exactly the spouse is entitled to depends on the rules of that state. There is generally a time limit on these claims, though.
4) No Estate Planning Documents
If there isn’t a will, the need for probate litigation becomes much more likely. That’s why it’s so important to have your estate planning documents in order, long before you ever need them, and also to keep them updated. In the absence of a will, family conflict is more common. This is especially true when people are grieving because emotions are running high and it’s harder to think clearly.
Livermore Probate Litigation
If you have any lingering concerns about the probate process, or think you might need probate litigation, contact Lewman Law at 925.447.1250. John Lewman is a distinguished Livermore attorney. Learn more about his background by clicking this link.