Probate Litigation Lawyers in Sacramento
Losing a loved one is a time period marked by emotional strife. Trying to fulfill a loved one’s final wishes while wrapping up their trust and estates can be overwhelming. In some cases, probate matters can become even more emotional when family members or inheritors don’t agree with the stipulations of the estate. In these cases, probation litigation may be necessary.
What Is Probation Litigation?
Probate court litigation refers to any matter of probate that is under contention. Any situation that requires the court to intervene to correct a problem is referred to as intervention or litigation. Not all litigation cases have to involve animosity amongst the affected parties, though some certainly do. The court has general guidelines for what constitutes a contested matter, including:
- A challenge to the validity of a will
- Wording and construction matters (i.e., the court has to rule on what a particular phrase means in a legal document)
- Guardianship issues, for example, who should be granted guardianship of a mentally incapacitated person, and the extent of their medical decision-making power
- Trust modification suits, or requests a court changes the terms of a trust
- Trust termination suits, which attempt to convince the court to cancel a trust
- Breach of fiduciary actions, which attempt to appoint another executor is they’re not fulfilling their obligations
Although this is not an exhaustive list of reasons for probate litigation, it contains the most common scenarios in which litigation would be necessary. A Sacramento probate litigation attorney can help you determine if you have grounds for probate litigation based on your specific situation.
Why You Might Need Probate Litigation
A number of factors might influence your need for probate litigation. Some of the more common reasons families pursue litigation are:
- A “Non-Standard” Will or Trust. Sometimes, the deceased will make unpopular stipulations in their last will and testament. For example, he or she may cut out a child completely, or distribute assets unevenly amongst immediate family members. Other times, the deceased may have made provisions for undesirable inheritors or become excessively detailed in an attempt to retain control beyond the grave.
- Second marriages can sometimes pose problems, especially in the absence of a prenuptial agreement. The prior spouse may disagree with the terms of the settlement, particularly if the assets are not divided cleanly between the prior spouse, current spouse, children, and step-children.
- Failing to appoint an appropriate fiduciary, or executor, can lead to probate litigation. Being an executor is a serious time commitment that requires timely and conscientious filing of paperwork and communication with the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may elect to pursue litigation for a fiduciary who isn’t completing their tasks in a professional fashion. In some cases, the two executors pursue litigation against one another.
- Faulty planning. While often well intentioned, sometimes probate litigation is simply the result of bad planning. For example, the deceased may have written his or her own will without eliciting advice from an attorney. In others, the deceased may have given control of a younger child’s trust to an older sibling, or written a last will and testament in the bouts of a final illness. There are too many instances to recount, but often a lack of foresight will lead to litigation in probate.
Finding a Trusted Litigation Probate Lawyer
Being involved in the probate process means you’ve recently lost a loved one. In these times of emotional distress, the litigation process can pose extra hardship. Enlist the help of a compassionate and experienced Sacramento wills and trusts lawyer to help you settle your probate litigation matters. Contact one of our attorneys to sit down with you for a free initial consultation. We’ll review the facts of your case and help you decide on next steps during this difficult time.