Understanding Estate Litigation
Unfortunately, estate litigation is very common and might even be considered inevitable. This is why it’s important to prepare by consulting with a leading Brooklyn law firm like Michael Kanzer & Associates, P.C.
After a person dies, his or her assets are tallied and valued. This represents that person’s estate, and is typically left to a surviving family member or someone designated in a will. The estate is evaluated in the probate process through the court. At this point, anyone with a claim against the estate or will can open a case.
Typically, estate litigation occurs when a creditor claims the deceased person owed them money. When someone files a claim and the executor does not agree, the estate litigation process begins. If the claim is valid, the executor must pay the creditor out of the estate assets. However, many times the executor denies the claim, forcing the creditor to petition the court for compensation.
Estate litigation also occurs when a beneficiary or heir challenges the will during probate. Usually, the court will try to settle the issue quickly before the estate litigation progresses, suggesting both parties to attend mediation. Mediation is not mandatory, but the court normally encourages both parties to discuss their concerns in the presence of a licensed mediator. If mediation does not work, both parties will need to seek counsel from experienced estate litigation lawyers.
A will may be contested for a variety of reasons. However, there are certain laws for contesting wills. These types of cases must be initiated immediately. The most common reasons are as follows:
- Poorly executed will – This could mean that there are ambiguous circumstances drafted within the will, or the witness signatures do not meet certain legal requirements.
- Mental incompetence of the testator – If the writer of the will was proven to be of unsound mental competence, the will could be voided. For instance, if the testator was senile, delusional or mentally incapacitated at the time the will was drafted, it could be deemed invalid.
- Will is fraudulent or composed under undue influence – Wills may be contested if the testator was forced to write certain agreements within the will, is unduly influenced by a beneficiary or someone with a special relationship to testator. However, this situation is typically very difficult to prove.
- Another will is discovered – A newer will usually always replaces the older will.
How We Can Help
Leading Brooklyn law firm Michael F. Kanzer & Associates are equipped to handle the myriad of issues associated with estate litigation and wills. This may include the following:
- Real estate discrepancies
- Tax Law
- Fiduciary duties
- Family businesses
- Creditor Rights
- Wills and trust contests
- Powers of Attorney
- Fraudulent transfer of assets
- Beneficiary rights
Our seasoned estate litigators have the experience and dedication needed to resolve even the most challenging cases. We ensure our clients have the support they need throughout the legal process.
It’s imperative that clients attain the best counsel possible during their litigation process. Our goal is to ensure each client is represented by the highest quality legal service to achieve the best outcome possible. Michael F. Kanzer and his Brooklyn law firm are happy to help solve your legal woes. To speak with one of our staff about estate litigation or estate planning, please contact our office today by calling 718.769.7200.