When Probate Litigation Becomes Your Only Option

Some people might gloss over this topic because they don’t intend for their assets to ever go through probate. But here are three examples of when probate is unavoidable:

  1. Dying without a will or trust
  2. Dying with a will 
  3. Dying with assets but not in an established trust

Even if you create will, your assets will pass through probate. Trusts, however, will not have to go through probate. When you pass away with a will, your assets are handed down according to your wishes. 

If someone passes away without a will, it is easy to see how disputes may arise. Imagine if the deceased had been married multiple times, had children from different marriages, and had remarried before passing away. Certain things may have considerable sentimental value to some. Yet when someone passes away without a will, state law will determine how assets get distributed.

And even with a will (or a trust), that does mean there won’t be disputes. The will could be ambiguous or poorly written. The trustee could be accused of failing his fiduciary duties.

When To Make A Dispute

Probate can be a long process because of how easy it is to legally dispute and contest a will—if you have standing. I.e., you need to be a part of the will or be affected by it. Ultimately, there will be a hearing to determine the validity of a claim. But there are several reasons to contact an attorney for probate litigation:

  1. The will has been altered or created fraudulently.
  2. The person who created the will didn’t have the mental capacity to create one.
  3. Someone used coercion or manipulation to get themselves added to a will.  
  4. The will wasn’t signed.

You can challenge a trust too. And more importantly, someone might have a legal issue with you if you were appointed as a trustee. They could argue you aren’t fulfilling your obligations as the trustee. Or someone might challenge your appointment.

How To Make A Dispute

State laws dictate the time frame in which someone can dispute a will. And this is the state where the will’s creator (the decedent) passed away. 

Look at the reasons listed above for why you could dispute a will. Though the list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you an idea of what you should be looking for. Secondly, you must prove your claim. Contact a probate litigation attorney and have a consultation based on the specific reason you have for contesting the will.

You will likely be very emotional and upset when discussing the issue. Leave personal feelings aside and focus on the issue. Let your attorney advise you of your options of how to proceed. 

Luis E. Barreto and Associates

If you are in the middle of probate and wish to contest a will, contact Luis E. Barreto and Associates for a free initial consultation. Dealing with the passing of a loved one while having to dispute a will is challenging. Let us handle the legal issues for you.

Luis E. Barreto