Estate Litigation and the Potential Pitfalls of Inheritance

law; provisions

It is devastating when a beloved member of the family passes on. There are often deep emotions to be dealt with and major life adjustments to be made before the bereaved can move forward again. This already difficult process can become even more more challenging when there is money and/or property to be divided. This is especially true when there is no will or when the details of the will are in dispute. If you find yourself in a situation where a family member wants to settle inheritance issues in court, you need to know what to expect.

To start, let’s look at why an estate litigation case might be filed. There are a number of reasons, and the following post describes several of them:

Disagreements and disputes involving estates can arise in numerous circumstances including:

  • Uncertainty over the meaning of terms in a Will
  • Questions as to the capacity of the person who made a Will
  • Concerns over the actions of an executor or a Power of Attorney
  • Uncertainly over what property should form part of an estate
  • Challenges to certain provisions set out in a Will. Read more at Weldon McInnis…

In times of bereavement, the last thing you want to hear is that your family members are fighting over the inheritance. In most cases, the conflict will be due to one of the reasons described in the above post. While it is unfortunate, having the right attorney will go a long way toward making the process as easy as possible.

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There are certain things you should expect to go through once the case is rolled out.  The following post describes what you can anticipate:

What To Expect During A Trust Or Estate Litigation Trial

When a loved one passes away and a dispute arises over the administration of his or her estate or trust, the parties may attempt to resolve their differences without having to go to court. Unfortunately, this is not successful in every case. Some disputes may ultimately lead to a full-blown legal trial. When this happens, the parties involved can expect a specific order of events to occur before a judge or jury ultimately reaches a decision as to the case.

Steps in a Trust or Estate Litigation Trial

What can you expect if you are about to begin the process of entering into a trial involving a dispute over a trust or estate? Read more at Grossman Law…

An understanding of the stages of the court case will help you know how to engage your attorney from a legal standpoint, as well as help you prepare psychologically for what lies ahead.

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Those who opt for estate litigation should be warned that there are several possible outcomes in such a case. The unique circumstances of the case determine what the court decides and there’s no guarantee of victory. The following post addresses the key matter of the costs incurred when challenging a will:

Costs in Will Challenge Litigation

It is well-settled that in estate litigation the unsuccessful party must generally pay some of the successful party’s costs – this is often referred to as the “loser pays principle”.

Importantly however, the loser pays principle is subject to certain exceptions that are unique to estate litigation.   For instance, where there is a genuine dispute about the validity of a will, even an unsuccessful party may be awarded costs out of the estate.  The rationale for this exception is that it is important for the courts to give effect to valid wills that reflect the intentions of competent testators.

That doesn’t mean that the parties to every will challenge should expect that they will receive their costs from the estate, as illustrated by the recent case of Sweetnam v. Lesage.  Read more at Estate Litigation…

As you just read, in a case where the validity of a will is found wanting, both parties may end up being compensated. However, in many instances, the loser in the case is required to compensate the winner. Each case is unique with its own facts and unique circumstances, a favorable outcome is never assured.

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Because of the complexities involved, estate litigation requires effective representation by a skilled and experienced lawyer. Jonathan Meek at Meek Law Firm has the education and experience needed to successfully represent your interests, just as he has done for many other satisfied clients. Contact Meek Law Firm today to discuss your legal needs. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

2017-05-26T04:12:52+00:00

About the Author:

As a small business owner, Meek has a passion for working with others who found and work for small- and medium-sized businesses. His goal is to not only help them protect and grow their businesses but also to resolve any personal legal issues they might face along the way.

Meek is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, the Mecklenburg County Bar Association, and the North Carolina State Bar. He is also on the board of Open Aperture Productions, a legal videography firm that he began in 2003. In addition, he participated in many hours of pro bono service during his law school career, including an externship with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney.