The probate process is often challenging to navigate under the best of circumstances. If a dispute arises, that already challenging process becomes even more difficult. Given the nature of the probate process, emotions are often heightened, making disputes more likely. If you are involved in a probate dispute, or you foresee the likelihood of one erupting, the support and guidance of one of the experienced Los Angeles, California probate attorney at Schomer Law Group can be the difference between reaching a mutually agreeable resolution and unnecessarily wasting time and money litigating the dispute.
What Kind of Disputes Might Occur During Probate?
The most obvious type of dispute that may crop up during the probate of an estate is a Will contest that challenges the validity of the Will submitted for probate. In addition, a dispute may arise over the validity of a claim filed against the estate by a creditor or over the sufficiency of the notice provided to creditors. Beneficiaries or heirs may also initiate a dispute if they feel the estate is not being handled properly by the Executor or that the decedent’s wishes as set forth in the Will are not being honored.
What Happens If A Dispute Arises During Probate?
Probate can be a costly process, both in terms of time and money, even without any disputes arising during the process. If a dispute does occur, it will likely extend the time it takes to conclude the probate process, particularly if the dispute is a Will contest.
How Is a Will Contest Handled?
When a Last Will and Testament is submitted to the court for probate the court must authenticate the Will. If a beneficiary, or other “interested party” has reason to believe the Will submitted to the court is not valid, they have the right to challenge the authenticity of the Will. In the State of California, a Will contest may be brought using the following grounds:
- Lack of testamentary capacity
- Undue influence
- Improper execution
A Will contest must be fully litigated, or the parties must reach a settlement, before the probate of the estate can move forward because the outcome of the dispute determines how the estate is probated. If the contestant is successful, the Will submitted to probate is declared invalid. Unless another valid Will is submitted to the court, the estate becomes an intestate estate and the California laws of intestate succession are used to probate the estate. If the contestant is unsuccessful, the original Will stands and the terms of that Will dictate how the estate is probated.
We Can Help You With Your Probate Dispute
Probate is typically an emotionally charged process for everyone involved. When a dispute arises, it can ignite those emotions, often pitting one family member against another. Probate disputes can also slow down the probate process, adding to the stress everyone involved is feeling. Whether you are an Executor, a creditor, a beneficiary, or legal heir, we can help you with your probate dispute. Our probate attorneys understand the sensitive nature of many probate disputes, as well as the cost and time they typically add to the probate process. We will protect your rights at times and work aggressively and expeditiously toward a mutually agreed upon resolution. If a resolution is not forthcoming, we are prepared to zealously advocate for you throughout the litigation process.
Contact the California Probate Attorneys at Schomer Law Group Today
At the Schomer Law Group, our probate attorneys have the experience to handle even the most complex Los Angeles probate disputes. Contact the California office today by calling (310) 337-7696 or by filling out our online contact form.