According to Advance Capital Management, 35% of Americans have personally experienced or know someone who has experienced family conflict as a result of not having an estate plan or comprehensive will.
After losing a loved one, it’s often extremely difficult to even begin to think about navigating the process of sorting out their estate. In an ideal world, your loved one will have carefully crafted an estate plan that you and your family members can all agree on. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The good news is, if you do not agree with the details of your loved one’s estate plan or the decisions being made by the executor, you do have legal options at your disposal.
An estate dispute can encompass a wide variety of specific issues, from will and trust contests and probate disputes to disagreements with the actions of the executor. Working with a skilled estate litigation attorney can simplify the process of contesting an estate and ensure that your voice is heard.
Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning has been practicing law for over 25 years and has extensive experience with a variety of different issues related to the estate planning process — making him the perfect partner if you need to resolve an estate dispute in Kennewick, Washington. He is also proud to offer his services to clients in Pasco, Richland, and Walla Walla, as well as Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas.
There are a variety of different situations in which estate litigation may be needed. Some of the most common causes of estate disputes include:
When an individual is persuaded to make a decision — as opposed to making that decision of his or her own free will — undue influence has occurred. If, for example, one child of the decedent convinces the parent to write the other children out of the will, this can be considered coercion and may be cause for a dispute that can be resolved during estate litigation.
When your loved one makes important estate planning decisions, he or she must be able to understand the nature of the assets involved and how they will be distributed. If your loved one was, for example, diagnosed with Alzheimer's prior to creating the estate plan, you may have grounds for a will or trust dispute based on lack of capacity.
The executor of the estate is considered a fiduciary. This means that he or she has a duty to the beneficiaries to act in the best interest of the estate and carry out all of the necessary responsibilities. If this duty is not upheld, you may be able to take legal action.
Once you have determined that you may have grounds to contest an estate plan or an executor, an experienced estate litigation attorney can help you consider the best course of action to pursue a favorable resolution.
There are a variety of methods that can be used to resolve estate disputes. Alternative dispute resolution approaches, like arbitration and mediation, are often cost-effective options that can help you avoid the adversarial nature of traditional litigation. However, estate disputes are typically highly sensitive in nature and can quickly become tense situations that, if left unresolved, may require litigation.
To contest a will or trust, you must prove that the decedent lacked the capacity to understand the decisions they were making while signing the will or creating the trust, that undue influence was involved, or certain state regulations were not met — thus making the will or trust invalid.
Wills can only be contested by spouses, children, or people who are mentioned in the will or a previous will. If you do have legal grounds, your attorney will file a contest against the will or trust.
If your dispute is with the executor of the estate, an estate litigation attorney must prove that the executor has either engaged in misconduct or is otherwise incompetent.
No matter what your specific estate dispute involves, you’ll want to have an estate litigation attorney by your side to file the claim and help you provide the necessary proof.
When it comes time for the court to make a decision on your estate dispute, all of the evidence presented will be taken into account to determine whether or not undue influence, lack of capacity, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, lack of formality, or other circumstances were at play to invalidate the will or trust or constitute grounds for removal of the executor.
At the end of the day, handling estate disputes with family can often feel emotionally overwhelming. Working with an attorney can help mitigate some of the conflicts associated with estate disputes. Schedule a free consultation with attorney Robert Taylor-Manning today in Kennewick, Washington to discuss your probate, will, trust, or executor dispute. He is proud to serve clients in Pasco, Richland, and Walla Walla, as well as Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas.
Get the guidance you need to pursue a favorable resolution to your estate dispute by contacting the Law Offices of Robert Taylor-Manning today. Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning is a seasoned estate litigation attorney with the experience and skills necessary to effectively advocate for you and your needs throughout every step of the litigation process. Call or reach out today to schedule a free case consultation.