Probate / Estate Litigation
Probate litigation typically involves the challenge to the validity of a will, the meaning and construction of a will, the proper administration of a will, creditor claims, the rights of surviving spouses, and determining what assets are included with the probate estate. Disputes often arise after an individual dies and property needs to be divided. The actions of the personal representative (the administer of the estate) are frequently questioned. Further, the prior mental state of the deceased may be called into question. Problems with creditors may need to be addressed.
Some people use trusts to provide for the distribution of their assets at death, or during life, rather than a will. The trustee named in the trust document typically handles the administration of the trust after the death of the trustmaker (formally called the “grantor” or “settlor”).
A "Guardian" is a person appointed by a court to act as a decision-maker on behalf of a child or an incapacitated adult, known as the "Ward." In establishing a guardianship, the court must determine the best interests of an elderly or incapacitated adult. The court must evaluate whether there are less restrictive alternatives to guardianship (i.e. power of attorney, health care surrogate, trust) and who is the most appropriate individual to be appointed Guardian.