Dealing with a tragedy in the family is difficult enough; experiencing a dispute over a loved one’s will can make matters even worse. Probate litigation is the legal process by which someone contests the commands or instructions of a loved one’s will, trust, or estate. In most cases, probate litigation occurs when there are multiple spouses or offspring named in a will. If a will doesn’t define certain actions clearly enough, it can create discourse among the beneficiaries.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Has there been any sort of disagreement over a will? If so, your family might want to seek legal help. A lawyer can help to resolve issues before the situation escalates and requires courtroom intervention. An attorney can also be particularly helpful if you believe you’re being overpowered due to someone else’s relationship with the party that passed away. For example, if someone’s uncle or aunt tries to establish power during the reading of their parent’s will, it could be viewed as an undue influence. Let’s examine three examples where you would want a lawyer to assist you.
1. The Common Will Dispute
Often, wills can change near the end of a person’s life. As morbid as it sounds, a lot of people don’t want to think of what happens after their death until it’s staring them in the face. An unfortunate side effect of these last-minute changes is unclear errors throughout the will. This then leads the beneficiaries to dispute the will after the fact. An attorney can help bring necessary clarity by escalating the dispute to a court of law. Common discrepancies usually involve money, vehicles, and estates.
2. Undue Influence
The American Bar Association defines undue influence as excessive persuasion by one person that causes another person to act out in such a way that overwhelms their own free will. In some circumstances, a family member will use undue influence on the person writing the will. This can influence the descendant to benefit this family member more than they would have if undue influence wasn’t used. Luckily, a probate litigation attorney can assist you in making a case that undue influence was used and certain terms of a will should be negated.
3. Mental Illness
When someone is near the end of their time on earth, certain medical conditions can cause their memory to diminish. This can lead to changes in a will that don’t make sense. When a will is announced and it includes peculiar information from the deceased , a lawyer can help bring clarity by way of dividing up the assets. In certain circumstances, mental illness and undue influence could intertwine. Especially if a relative takes advantage of the mentally ill party before they pass away.
Who Do I Contact for Probate Litigation Support?
The Law Offices of Dan Chern, P.C. can assist you with any will, trust, or estate issues. Our probate litigation team has years of experience assisting many clients solve difficulties surrounding family wills. It should be noted that most probate litigation hearings occur in the county in which the deceased passed away. Our staff is ready to answer all your questions and concerns. Contact us today to find out more information or inquire about your situation.