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In probate court, disputes about wills or trusts are resolved. There are a variety of reasons why the California probate court may have to intervene in the settlement of a deceased person’s probate estate or trust estate and the distribution of their assets.

If your inheritance is at risk, or if a dispute arises over a decedent’s estate or trust estate, you may need the help of an experienced probate litigation lawyer.

Common Causes for Disputes During Probate

In some cases, a loved one’s estate must go through probate after their passing. Even under the best of circumstances, probate is a very emotionally charged process and can be challenging to navigate. It involves collecting and distributing their assets, paying off debts, and ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

Occasionally, however, disputes arise during probate, such as challenges to the validity of a will or disagreements between family members.

A dispute complicates an already challenging process. Having to deal with a dispute can add to the stress of the process and can significantly increase the time it takes to settle the estate. It can also cause a rift between family members, leading to long-term issues. Therefore, it is important to do everything possible to avoid probate disputes.

That said, disputes can arise for a variety of reasons including:

Disputes over asset distribution: Beneficiaries or heirs may disagree about how the assets should be distributed or who should receive what portion of the estate’s assets. This often leads to conflicts, especially if the will or trust is ambiguous or if there are concerns of unfair treatment or favoritism of beneficiaries or heirs.

Claims of breach of fiduciary duty: If an executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate fails to properly fulfill their fiduciary duties, then estate beneficiaries or heirs may sue them for alleged mismanagement, fraud, self-dealing, or other fiduciary misconduct

Disputed creditor claims: Creditors may make claims against the estate. Disagreements can arise over the validity or priority of these claims. Beneficiaries, heirs and estate creditors may litigate against a decedent’s or trust estate to protect their interests.

Conservatorship disputes: If there are disagreements over the appointment of a conservator for an incapacitated adult, probate litigation may be initiated to determine who should serve as conservator or to remove a conservator and obtain appointment of a successor.

A probate litigation attorney can offer you the guidance and representation you need whether you are an executor administering an estate or a beneficiary seeking to protect your rights. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced probate litigation attorney if you are involved in or anticipate such a dispute without delay is advisable.

Benefits of Working with a Probate Litigation Attorney

Probate litigation can be complex and time-consuming. It often involves gathering evidence, preparing and serving written arguments on all interested parties, and appearing in court. A probate litigation lawyer familiar with the appropriate local county’s probate court is essential as probate litigation hearings and trials are set in the county where the decedent last resided or owned real property.

Our Southern California probate litigation attorneys will guide you through the probate litigation process and assist you in developing an appropriate strategy to resolve the matter. Their extensive training and experience in estate planning, wills, trusts, and civil litigation law, coupled with their courtroom skills are used to meet our clients’ probate and trust litigation needs. They can also assist you in protecting your rights and obtaining the best results.

What is The Difference Between an Estate Planning Attorney and Probate Litigation Attorney?

Experienced probate litigation attorneys differ from estate planning attorneys. Despite the latter’s expertise in the drafting, administration, and termination of estate plans, wills and trusts, they often do not handle probate litigation matters in court. A probate litigation lawyer is a civil trial attorney with knowledge and experience in the drafting, administration, and termination of California estate plans, wills, and trusts. The judicial process involved in disputing a will or trust or challenging whether a fiduciary has complied with his or her fiduciary duties during the administration of a decedent’s estate or trust estate.

A probate litigation lawyer could help you navigate the complexities of California probate law and represent your interests in estate-related disputes. You can rely on the education, skills, and experience of our probate litigation attorneys to protect your rights and ensure that the estate administration process is conducted in a fair and lawful manner.

Contact Us for Personalized Estate Planning in Southern California

We know discussing end-of-life plans can be difficult, but we approach this delicate conversation with respect and dignity. Our estate planning services cover all areas of elder law and probate based on your specific financial & health situation. If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, probate, special needs planning, or elder law, attorney Dennis M. Sandoval and the Sandoval Legacy Group team are ready to assist you.

Southern California’s Premier Estate Planning & Probate Litigation Law Firm

With thirty-plus years of experience as an estate planning law firm in Southern California, you will have the most experienced legal minds to guide you. The trusted estate planning lawyers at the Sandoval Legacy Group, a division of Holstrom Block & Parke, A Professional Law Corporation, have offices located throughout Southern California in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, special needs planning, elder law, conservatorships, advanced tax planning, or probate, contact us or give us a call at (888) 502-2881 to schedule a complimentary consultation.