Litigation in Probate Court

Sometimes disagreements occur during the probate process — a situation called a probate dispute. This may require litigation – lawsuits in probate court.

Here are some common types of probate disputes that can result in litigation:

  • Will Contests
  • Disputes Over Estate or Trust Administration
  • Disputes about the Meaning of a Will
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Let’s look briefly at each.

Will Contests: Sometimes the validity of a will is called into question because of undue influence, fraud, or the testator (person making the will) lacking mental capacity to make a will.

Disputes Over Estate or Trust Administration: This can occur when there are disagreements over who should be the personal representative (called executor in some states). It also includes whether the personal representative is doing a good job. Disagreements arise from how the estate is being managed. This can include disputes as to how assets are distributed, or valued, the accuracy of how the estate funds are spent, and how the estate assets are being taken care of.  Lastly, disputes can arise when the estate or trust is ready to be distributed if the proposed distribution is not fair.  

Disputes about the Meaning of a Will: Sometimes a will is vague or incomplete. Litigation is necessary to determine what the will actually means.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty: Sometimes, personal representatives or trustee is accused of mismanaging the estate or trust or not acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. It is common for the parties to litigate their differences.

If you are facing a probate dispute, have questions about trusts or estates; or if you are a trustee or a personal representative who has been accused of doing something wrong, we will be glad to sit down with you and discuss the ways we can help. Contact Us or call 803.929.0096.

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