The probate process can be a stressful experience for many family members. The reality of losing a loved one can couple with a myriad of tasks and conflicts that may prove to be a lot to handle. When it comes to properly handling trusts and estates, many people rely on a trusted estate planning attorney for guidance in order to gain a favorable outcome. Finding a legal practice that specializes in estate law can make your estate planning much simpler, and that’s where our law firm can help. JDKatz is proud to be your experienced team of estate lawyers in Michigan, offering a comprehensive set of services to get your life back on track. From succession planning devices to living trusts, we’re here and ready to represent you for any number of purposes.
While the probate process is meant to verify the validity and enforceability of a will, court actions may be requested on behalf of one or more parties to place the bequeathment of assets under legal review. Probate litigation can be a complex task regardless of the motivation behind seeking legal intervention. Today, we’ll conclude our three-part series by discussing a few more risk factors that can raise the chances of probate litigation. If you are dealing with the tasks of a deceased parent or close family member, be sure to contact us to see how our estate law team can help.
More Litigation Risk Factors
Different family dynamics can create different risk factors that raise the chances of litigation services. It is nearly impossible to foresee all of the different factors that can play into this measure. Every family is unique, whether for better or for worse, and the complex dynamics of each family can result in a new issue that we’ve never handled before. Beyond intense sibling rivalries and multiple marriages without a prenuptial agreement, the following issues can lay the groundwork for probate litigation.
As we have mentioned before, the responsibilities of the executor of the estate can be a lot to handle. Fiduciaries must oversee the dealings of the estate, ranging from paying taxes and debts to the dispersal of assets for inheritances. Executors are expected to act in the best interests of the estate, upholding moral values while keeping personal feelings out of the equation. Unfortunately, a plethora of problems hold the ability to complicate this relationship, creating strife when the fiduciary fails to act in accordance with the best interests of the will and the spirit of the testator. It’s important to designate an executor that can meet all of the demands of the position, and our estate planning attorneys can help you through this process.
Nonstandard Estate Plans
Any estate plan that deviates from the normal structuring may come under review and subsequent litigation. An example of this involves the unfair treatment of certain family members, where one sibling may receive nothing while the other three siblings receive considerable assets. Plans that lay out strange, complicated measures or those that rely on being bitter or vindictive as a type of revenge fall outside of the norm and can be challenged in court. Any will contest that is brought forward by an interested party will be reviewed and probate litigation will begin.
Poor Estate Planning
Any shortcomings in the estate plan can create serious conflict between family members. Oftentimes, this issue stems from complications that arise due to a lack of foresight on the part of the testator. Estate planning is a complicated process, requiring a lot of proper preparations to seamlessly follow any rules and regulations set forth, saving time, energy, and heartache down the road. It’s important to work with a professional estate planning attorney to avoid any setbacks and possible conflict within your family.
Making Your Claim in Time
Any claims or changes made against the decedent’s estate will fall under a statute of limitations, where a set amount of time is allowed before the claim is invalid. Fiduciary duty suits, for example, come into play when the executor of the estate fails to complete their tasks. These claims can be brought forward of the fiduciary provides evidence of negligence, fraud, legal malpractice, or a general breach of contract. In any case, the statue for these claims is set at three years.
Will contests in Maryland are handled by the Orphan’s Court, which is the name for the probate court. Anyone looking to contest a will faces a caveat proceeding, which involves looking at the validity and legality of the claim brought forth. Anyone needing to file a contest will have six months from the day that a personal representative is appointed for the estate. One exception to this rule is when another will is found that conflicts with the one currently in probate.
The probate process can be a long, complicated endeavor. From family strife to inadequate estate planning measures, probate litigation can come into play for several reasons. When this happens, it’s important to find an estate lawyer in Maryland that you can trust to represent your best interests in order to optimize the outcome for your unique situation. JDKatz is proud to be your trusted team of estate planning attorneys in Bethesda, providing a wide range of services to help our clients. We specialize in estate planning, tax law, FBAR filing, business structuring, and more. Contact us today if you need assistance or to learn more about our estate law services.