If you recently lost a loved one, the last thing you may want to become involved in is a legal battle. Unfortunately, that is sometimes precisely what happens during the probate of an estate. If you find yourself facing probate litigation in California, the assistance of an experienced probate attorney will be invaluable. Given the complexity of California probate laws, and the emotionally charged nature of many probate disputes, it is in your best interest to have one of the seasoned probate attorneys from Schomer Law Group on your side throughout any probate litigation that may arise.
What Leads to Probate Litigation?
Probate litigation can be the result of a wide variety of facts and circumstances. Some of the more common circumstances that lead to probate litigation include:
- A poorly drafted Last Will and Testament can lead to questions about the document’s authenticity.
- Last minute changes in a Will can raise doubts about the Testator’s state of mind at the time the Will was executed.
- Known heirs may question the legitimacy of an unknown heir
- Beneficiaries of a trust agreement may dispute the terms of a trust or the performance of the Trustee
- Beneficiaries and heirs may become unhappy about the manner in which an Executor or Administrator is probating an estate.
- A creditor might challenge a denial of a claim.
How Does Probate Litigation Affect the Probate Process?
Probate litigation typically has a profound impact on the probate process and on the people involved in that process. If a Will contest is filed, for example, it will effectively bring the process to a halt while the challenge to the Will is litigated because the outcome of that challenge will determine how the estate is ultimately probated. If the Will is declared invalid, anther valid Will must located or the estate will be probated using the California intestate succession laws. On the other hand, if the contestant is unsuccessful, the Will is declared valid and is used to distribute the estate.
Along with slowing down the probate process, a Will contest often results in a division within the family that may never be healed. Sometimes, it causes an irreparable rift that will be felt for generations to come. The emotionally charged nature of the litigation frequently causes family members to choose sides in the dispute, pitting brothers against sisters and parents against children. Probate litigation can also result in financial hardship for the beneficiaries and/or heirs of the estate. Assets that are required to go through the probate process are not available for use by the intended beneficiary/heir until probate is concluded. Litigation inevitably holds up the probate process, meaning it may be months, even years, before the beneficiaries/heirs are able to benefit from the assets. For a decedent’s family members who may be counting on those assets to cover basic living expenses, the delay caused by litigation may be financially devastating.
How Our Probate Litigation Team Can Help
Probate litigation is not something you want to face alone. Our probate litigation team understands what is at stake and is committed to helping you protect your rights along with the estate assets. In addition, we will ensure that the estate is probated in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and that the litigation process does not take any longer than necessary. Our primary goal is always to resolve probate disputes without the need for protracted litigation; however, when litigation is inevitable, our experienced litigation attorneys will aggressively and zealously defend you and your rights throughout the litigation process.
If you find yourself involved in probate litigation, the Los Angeles probate litigation team at Schomer Law Group is here to help. We have the experience, dedication, and resources necessary to successfully represent you in even the most complex probate litigation. Contact the California office today by calling (310) 337-7696 or (562) 346-3209 or by filling out our online contact form.