Florida Estate Litigation Services
Our attorneys provide assistance with all types of controversies involving wills, trusts and estates and we often provide legal representation to personal representatives, trustees, beneficiaries, heirs, conservators, guardians, and trust companies.
Our representation can take any of the following forms:
- Probate Litigation – We can assist the personal representative of an estate in defending a challenge to a probate proceeding. We can also assist a beneficiary in challenging the validity of a probate proceeding.
- Trust Administration – We can assist a trustee fulfill his or her duties under the terms of a trust agreement. This typically involves reviewing the trust document, determining the qualified beneficiaries of a trust, delineating the trustee’s responsibilities, making certain that the trustee fulfills all notice requirements, assisting with the preparation the trustee’s accounting and the filing of all required tax returns.
- Trust Litigation – We represent trustees defend themselves against accusations of breach of trust or other types of improper conduct. We also represent beneficiaries who wish to challenge the validity of a trust or the manner in which a trust is being administered.
- Guardianships – We assist in the preparation of court petitions to appoint a guardian for minors as well as persons who are mentally or physically incapacitated. This includes representing the proposed guardian, the person who is alleged to be incapacitated or another interested person who may wish to challenge the proceeding. We also provide assistance with on-going administration of a guardianship, including the preparation and filing of annual reports and annual accountings.
Two of the most common reasons for estate litigation are the following:
- Will contests for the division of assets:
- When a person dies, the people named in the will are called beneficiaries. These are the individuals who the decedent elected to leave their remaining assets to.
- In addition to beneficiaries, though, the decedent may have also left behind heirs, those who would legally be entitled to some of the decedent’s assets had there not been a Will involved. Both parties are entitled to contest a will, which they may do if they disagree with the way the assets are being distributed.
- Creditor Disputes:
- Disagreements commonly occur if the personal representative determines that a creditor’s claim is either inaccurate or invalid.
- If a creditor requests a claim — that is, asks for a certain amount of money that he claims that the decedent owed to him — and it is approved, that money will simply be paid out of the decedent’s remaining assets. If it is denied, however, the creditor would need to submit a petition to the court, which could result in estate litigation.
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