What is Probate Litigation?
Probate litigation involves situations in which there is a dispute over someone's assets after they die. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the dispute may be over who should receive specific assets. In other cases, the dispute may be about whether a will or trust is valid. Probate litigation can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. So, it's important to seek legal counsel right away when disputes arise after a loved one passes away.
The experienced probate litigation attorneys at DuPont & Blumenstiel are prepared to handle a wide variety of cases. Including the following.
Family members may choose to challenge the validity of a will for a variety of reasons. Most often, it is because they believe they have been wrongfully excluded or "written out" of it. These cases usually involve an individual (or a few people) who pressure an older individual into making a will that excludes a loved one, and benefits them instead. This is called undue influence. Another reason that a will can be declared invalid in the State of Ohio is due to lack of testamentary capacity. This means that the person who created the will didn't actually have the mental competency or cognitive abilities to legally change their estate plans. Lastly, a will can also be declared invalid due to such things as fraud or forgery.
Our will contest attorneys can help prosecute those who unduly influenced your loved one into writing you out of the will. Our attorneys are also experienced in defending executors, and others, who are wrongly accused of undue influence, fraud, duress, and/or other wrongdoings.
If you have concerns about the validity of a will, download our Will Contest PDF Guide for more information.
A trust is a valuable estate planning tool that can allow a testator (the person who creates the trust) to avoid probate, exercise control over their assets, and provide financial security for loved ones. However, like any tool, trusts can be misused. The validity of a trust can be called into question when it fails to reflect the true wishes of the testator and instead reflects the deception, manipulation, coercion, and desires of a third party. A trust can be declared invalid due to undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity, just like a will contest.
The experienced trust contest attorneys at DuPont & Blumenstiel can help you interpret a trust, determine the validity of a trust, and (if necessary) challenge the validity of a trust. We are also prepared to defend clients against unfounded claims against them in regard to a loved one's trust.
Pre-Death Gifts and Transfers
Sometimes, an otherwise trusted caretaker, financial power of attorney, or family member may cross a line and financially manipulate a loved one into giving property away. If you believe this has happened to someone close to you, we can help recover any wrongfully taken items. Common issues in this area include determining the validity of gifts and title transfers, determining the rights of beneficiaries, and investigating claims of financial abuse.
If you believe your loved one was manipulated into giving away their real estate, personal property, retirement funds, investments, or other assets, call us today at 614-389-9711.
Power of Attorney Litigation
Sometimes, a person is either physically or mentally too ill to independently handle their own financial and/or medical affairs. Under such circumstances, a Power of Attorney may be granted, which allows another person to make important financial and/or healthcare decisions for the ill individual. A Financial Power of Attorney is responsible for managing another person's finances, and a Healthcare Power of Attorney is responsible for making medical decisions. Unfortunately, some people abuse the rights and responsibilities they have as Power of Attorney over someone else. They may make decisions that benefit themselves, and not the person they have been placed in charge or helping and protecting.
Our attorneys have considerable experience with Power of Attorney disputes, including determining the rights and duties of the Power of Attorney holder, pursuing breach of fiduciary claims, rectifying Power of Attorney abuse, and investigating medical and psychiatric issues involving Powers of Attorney.
Beneficiary Designation Litigation
People sometimes designate others to receive assets (such as bank accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts, stock and brokerage accounts, etc.) at their death through the use of a beneficiary designation. Unfortunately, greedy individuals occasionally scheme to get the beneficiary designation changed so they are the named beneficiary instead of someone else.
This type of case usually involves issues associated with lack of capacity, incompetence, undue influence, fraud, duress, mistake, forgery, as well as medical and psychiatric issues. We are prepared to defend and prosecute issues concerning changes in beneficiaries. Our attorneys will do their best to ensure you receive the assets which were meant to go to you.
Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Fiduciaries are people who have been entrusted with property or money to hold and manage for the benefit of another. Fiduciaries can be trustees, executors, estate administrators, powers of attorney, and guardians, among others. They are legally bound to act in the best interests of the person whose property or monet they have access to or control over. Fiduciary disputes usually arise when this duty is breached.
Our fiduciary litigation attorneys are experienced in representing both fiduciaries and beneficiaries with issues associated with the designation, appointment, and removal of fiduciaries; self-dealing; and accounting and record keeping.
Conversion and Concealment of Assets
These cases arise when someone wrongfully took and/or hid the assets of someone else to our client's detriment. We regularly handle cases involving the misappropriation of money, stocks, bonds, jewelry, and other types of assets. If someone has wrongfully hidden the assets of another, we can help recover those items and get them to their rightful owner. We also defend those wrongfully accused of converting and/or concealing assets.
If you believe you have a probate litigation or estate dispute case, don't wait to talk to us! There are deadlines for filing your legal claim. After the deadline has passed, you will no longer be allowed to pursue legal action.
Probate litigation can be a long and complicated process. If you choose to hire us, we will be by your side every step of the way. We are prepared to:
- Assess your case to see if you have a valid claim
- Personally meet with you to discuss your case (either over the phone, via Zoom, or in-person)
- Gather all the necessary evidence and information from you, the opposing party, and others that have relevant documentation and information
- Supoena relevant documents such as lawyer's notes, medical records, financial documents, and all other documentation and evidence needed to vigorously represent your legal interests
- Argue your case to obtain the best results possible
Have your probate litigation case evaluationed today by calling our office at 614-389-9711.