Understanding Estate Litigation

Monday, March 5th, 2018, 2:38 am

After an individual dies, their estate plan goes into effect. When the individual has created wills, trusts, or other documents to clearly lay out where they want their property and assets to go, the court can then begin to distribute those items.

 

However, if a family member or other individual chooses to contest a specific area of an estate plan, estate litigation will begin. Here are a few things you need to know about estate litigation.

 

Areas of Estate Litigation: 

 

Here are a few different kinds of estate litigation that you or a loved one may experience.

 

  • Creditor/Debtor Litigation: If there are outstanding debts that the individual needs to cover, the creditor may begin estate litigation against the appropriate assets.
  • Validity of Wills: If there is reason to believe that the individual was incapable of making a sound decision when creating the will, it may be considered invalid.
  • Spousal and Kinship Rights: Prenuptial and antenuptial agreements should be taken into consideration. Heir inheritance rights should also be considered.
  • Trust Litigation: Trust litigation gives trustees an opportunity to defend their actions during the creation or execution of a trust.
  • Account Management: If the executor of the estate is not managing the account properly, account management litigation can bring the matter to court.

 

Probate vs Litigation 

 

When an individual passes away, their estate plan will automatically enter probate. The probate process is not the same as litigation.

 

During probate, the court will assess the estate plan to see if there are any holes in the process. They will then oversee the manager of the estate, guaranteeing that the executor is following the appropriate processes and procedures.

 

Probate is also the time that an individual would need to bring up an issue with the will or estate plan. If a problem arises, the executor will need to decide whether or not to take the issue to litigation.

 

It's always important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney in situations like these. Contact the team at Micheal F. Kanzer & Associates, P.C. for expert assistance. Give our Brooklyn office a call at 718.769.7200 for a free consultation.

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