Not all heirs to property go through probate litigation, but they all go through probate. Probate is simply the legal process through which a decedent’s property is administered and typically takes 90 days. Probate litigation, on the other hand, can take years, and becomes necessary when there is no other way to resolve disputes, issues and claims against an estate.
Most people think that only the rich is subject to probate litigation, but it is an option for any case where there is property or assets that run into problems after the owner dies. In most cases where there is a will, probate litigation is filed to contest the terms and conditions of the will. In cases where the owner dies intestate, probate litigation becomes a matter of course in which the court decides who will benefit and to what degree based on affinity and other legal relationships.
In cases where a will is contested, it could be based on several issues. These issues include:
- Trust administration and termination
- Fiduciary duty violations of estate administrators, executors and trustees
- Mental condition of the testator at the time the will was signed
- Second marriages
- Claims of undue influence or use of force
- Claims of forgery
- Disputes about the legal validity of testamentary documents
Because probate litigation can drag on for years and leave all heirs in suspended animation until the issues at hand are resolved, it is often suggested that mediation with the help of a qualified probate lawyer would be the better option. Since states all have different takes on probate, it is advisable to get legal advice from a lawyer who practices in that state, even that city. For example, if the decedent lived in Houston, heirs should make sure that mediation or probate litigation goes as smoothly as possible in a legal sense by consulting with Houston lawyers, like those of the Mokaram Law Firm. Visit the Mokaram page.Read More