Contested Will? Talk to an Estate Litigation Attorney.

Let's face it. Nobody wants to hire an estate litigation attorney to contest an estate. It's best to avoid any litigation. As a result, your best solution to prevent conflicts is to work with an estate litigation attorney. They'll determine the best way to distribute assets and eliminate confusion regarding your wishes. Failing to do so or adequately draft an estate plan leaves the door open to contestation.

5 Common Issues Resulting in Estate Litigation

Individuals may contest or dispute wills based on several factors, but these are the most common issues requiring an estate litigation attorney.

Lack of Capacity by the Will Testator

The law requires you have the mental capacity to execute a will. Moreover, you must understand your assets and their distribution when doing so. However, a court can void the will owing to a lack of capacity. Consequently, challenging a will on those grounds usually involves someone establishing incompetence due to dementia, Alzheimer's, senility, mental illness, etc.

Undue Influence by a Third Party

It creates undue influence if someone compels or coerces you to execute a will. For example, after learning your estate plan and uncovering their exclusion, a family member may exert undue influence, causing you to alter your will. Often, one child coerces a parent to remove another child from the will. And that leads to contesting a will based on undue influence. If you have concerns, talk with an estate litigation attorney in advance to stem future issues.

Estate Litigation for Improper Execution

Someone can contest a will's validity if executed improperly. For instance, most states require you to sign the will and include two witnesses. Failing to have that second witness may void the document. Other issues can arise from executing a will improperly. So it pays to work with a will lawyer near you rather than drafting your own will through some other resource like a website. By the way, if someone suspects forging your will, they're free to contest your will.

Breach of Duty

Your estate representatives have fiduciary duties, including honesty, prudence, and loyalty. An individual can contest your will based on a breach of those duties when violated. An estate litigation attorney can help with any disputes.

Elective Share

Pennsylvania allows for an elective share regardless of your will. As a result, a surviving spouse can take an elective share of the property. For instance, even if you exclude your spouse from an inheritance, they're entitled to file a lawsuit requesting the court take an elective share. In Pennslyvania, the elective share amounts to one-third of a decedent spouse's property. The surviving spouse has to file the suit six months following your death or six months following probate (whichever is later). Otherwise, they waive their right.

Talk to a Lawyer Near You

Our Norristown and Doylestown estate litigation attorneys represent heirs, trustees, and personal representatives. So they file actions to capture and recover misappropriated assets while the owner is incompetent or unable to resist the influence of those close to them. In addition, those estate attorneys also file actions against the government to recover assets seized for taxes.

When trust disputes arise, they generally involve contests over several considerations:

  • Administration of trusts
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Misappropriation of funds
  • Interpretation of the terms of the trust in light of modern law
  • Failure of the trustee to act

Get in touch if you're looking for a lawyer near you in Montgomery County or Bucks County, PA. Our estate attorneys can assist you with litigation and contested wills.

Estate Litigation Attorneys

Gilbert P. High Jr.

Gilbert P. High Jr. | municipal and estates Attorney | High Swartz Attorneys at Law

Municipal Law Attorney Gilbert P. High handles land development, zoning litigation, tree law, estate planning, easements, and rights of way.

Donald Petrille, Jr.

Donald Petrille, Jr. | Business & Estates Attorney | High Swartz Attorneys at Law

As an attorney, Donald Petrille, Jr. primarily represents businesses as they wrestle with complex legal issues and individuals in estate planning matters.

Renata T. Pabisz

renata t pabisz estate planning attorney at High Swartz attorneys for law

Renata T. Pabisz is an immigration lawyer and estate planning attorney concentrating on probate, estate administration, and elder law in the Philadelphia metro area.

Estate Planning Blog

How to Write a Valid Will

Do you need a lawyer to create a valid will? Short answer: no. If you have a basic, straightforward estate, you can use an online service to create one. Even so, there are some essentials to ensuring your will is valid. Each state has laws defining what

Read More

The 5 Most Important Estate Planning Documents

What are the 5 Most Important Estate Planning Documents? Noted author and financial planner Suze Orman says, "Estate planning is an important and everlasting gift you can give your family." And she's right. But if you create one, you need to do it right.

Read More

What is Estate Planning?

Let’s start by understanding what estate planning is before moving on to why it’s essential. But hopefully, after reading through this, you’ll feel comfortable reaching out to an estate attorney near you to begin planning your estate. What is an

Read More

When is a Will Really a Will?

The rules for executing a Will in Pennsylvania are simple and clear.  Unfortunately, life, and its circumstances, often are not, and these circumstances can unwittingly lead to a Will contest. If someone signs a document which is intended to dispose

Read More

What Happens to A Deceased Relative's Debt When They Die?

A common concern of clients during the initial estate planning process is what happens to debt when you die. This is a valid concern for next of kin and estate beneficiaries, and we'll delve into it below. Who is responsible for paying off the debts of

Read More

Estate Planning News