Daytona Beach Probate Litigation Attorney
Probate litigation consists of legal disputes about issues related to aging, disability and death. It involves court battles over those still alive, such as guardianships and conservatorships, as well as legal fights over powers of attorney, patient advocate designations, and living wills. It also includes legal challenges when someone has passed on, including cases involving wills, trusts, estates, asset disputes, joint bank accounts, gifts, and anything else that families can fight about when a loved one dies.
A will is a document written and signed by the deceased with the attestation of witnesses. It is the document that specifies how the beneficiaries should distribute the property among themselves. So, probate litigation is the same as contesting the will. A will can be contested on various grounds. Some of these may include:
- Some of the beneficiaries are not given an inventory of the property
- Claims of undue influence
- One of the beneficiaries enjoying the full benefits
- Differences of opinion over guardianships and conservatorships
- One of the beneficiaries failing to do his or her fiduciary duties
- Details about the creditors not disclosed
- Dispute as to who can take over as the personal representative. A personal representative is a bank or trust appointed by the probate court to administer the estate.
No Contest Clause
If you are afraid that someone might challenge the validity of your will or trust in court after your death, you may be tempted to add what’s called a “no contest clause” to your document.
A no contest clause is an added feature in most estate plans that attempts to deter unhappy beneficiaries from challenging the estate plan. If a no contest clause is triggered by someone fighting to invalidate the estate plan, then they and their children are excluded (as though they had died).
Navigating the litigation paths can be tricky and care needs to be taken to understand the potential repercussions or downside of filing an action in probate court. Unknowingly triggering a no contest clause could have disastrous consequences.
Trust, estate and probate litigation is a specialized area of the law. Most trust and will litigation cases require multiple petitions and complaints (e.g. lawsuits) on different, but related, subjects such as financial elder abuse, capacity issues, undue influence claims, creditor’s claims, and probate procedures. A single case can have all these aspects, and more. To successfully navigate this type of case, an attorney must first have a thorough and in-depth knowledge of all Florida laws applicable to the creation and administration of trusts, wills, estates, and probate. Additionally, an attorney must understand the complex litigation rules and procedures in Florida, which will apply to all phases of a case including motion practice, discovery, and trial.
The attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. are trial lawyers. We know how to take a case from inception in court through trial. We will fight for your inheritance. We understand both the laws that govern trusts, wills, estates, and probate, as well as the litigation procedures set forth by Florida courts to seek the right result in Court on your behalf.
Many beneficiaries hesitate to hire an attorney because they trust the probate court to do what is fair or wish to keep a family dispute within family. However, there are things you should consider before attempting to handle a probate issue yourself. The court is not an investigative body. Just because you bring up an issue does not mean the judge is obligated to search for supporting evidence. You can present allegations, but without the firm basis a professional attorney can provide, your suspicions may receive little consideration. Our experienced attorneys have been through probate negotiations before and will fight for you. Contact our office today at 866-785-5470 for a free legal consultation.