Probate is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court. This court handles estate matters, and it is necessary when a will is used as an asset transfer vehicle.
Creditors are notified and taxes and other final debts are paid while the estate is being probated, and the assets are identified and inventoried. They will be prepared for distribution, and this can involve appraisals and liquidation of property.
This court will also supervise when someone passes away intestate, which is the condition of dying without any estate planning documents at all.
Though the administration of a trust is not subject to this process, the probate court will hear trust dispute cases as well.
Conservatorship matters fall under the purview of the probate court. A conservator is an individual that is empowered by the court to act on behalf of an incapacitated adult.
One type of probate litigation case is a will challenge. In order for a will to be valid, certain standards must be met, and there are a number of different grounds for a will contest.
A lot of people create wills when they are elders, and cognitive impairment impacts a significant percentage of the senior population. The testator of a will must be of sound mind when the document is created, so incapacity is one of the acceptable grounds.
Fraud, improper execution, and undue influence or coercion are additional grounds for estate challenges. With regard to execution, the testator must sign the will in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses are required to sign the will while they are together.
The witnesses should not be people that are named as beneficiaries in the will because there would be a presumption of coercion.
We represent clients in trust dispute matters, and we can help if you would like to petition the court to modify or terminate a trust. You should never assume that you have no recourse if you are being negatively impacted by the terms of a trust.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
A fiduciary is a person or entity that is acting on behalf of another, and they have a duty to act in the best interests of their client. In an estate planning context, executors and trustees are fiduciaries, and accountants and attorneys have fiduciary relationships with their clients.
If a fiduciary has violated their responsibility, we can do what it takes to hold them accountable.
All interested parties may not be in agreement with regard to the matter of conservatorship. In some cases, siblings will disagree about the incapacity of a parent. There are also disputes about the person that should be empowered to act as the conservator.
We Are Here to Help!
We know that it can be difficult to discuss these are sensitive matters with an attorney you have just met. When you choose Ovando Bowen, you can rest assured that you will feel comfortable from the start, and you will recognize the sincerity of our intentions.
After we gain an understanding of the situation, you can step away from the stress while we do everything possible to make things right.
If you are ready to get started, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Santa Ana, CA probate litigation lawyers.