If you’re finding yourself in probate court, it pays to look at hiring one of the best litigation firms.
The best litigation firms are the best for a reason: they have the experience and skills to not just win in court, but provide the best possible outcomes for their client. One such area of law that sometimes requires the litigation services of an attorney is probate law.
What Is Probate Law?
Probate is a specific area of law that deals with the property of someone who is no longer living. When an individual dies, they have things that need taking care of, such as the distribution of property among living relatives or other beneficiaries and payment of any debts. During probate, a probate court will oversee this process, which is usually smooth and uneventful.
But sometimes, hiccups arise, such as a beneficiary or family member disagreeing with who receives certain property or who will receive custody of any surviving children who are still under 18 years old. When these types of disagreement arise, probate litigation usually begins.
What Is There to Know about Probate Litigation?
One of the first things to know and understand about probate litigation is that it’s actually very common. It often happens among families where there is disagreement among the members, or the members don’t get along very well.
Sometimes the disagreement is over something worthwhile, such as who inherits an expensive or highly sought-after asset. Two individuals may truly believe they are the rightful new owners of their grandmother’s classic car, for example. Both sides go to court, make their arguments, accept the decision from the judge, then go on their way. But things don’t always go this smoothly during litigation.
What Can Potentially Happen During the Probate Process?
In rare instances, this disagreement occurs because one side is especially greedy or immoral. In this case, they literally attempt to extort money from the rightful owner. We can look at a hypothetical example to demonstrate this.
Grandpa John died with a bank account amounting to $40,000. Grandpa John wrote in his will that his granddaughter Sharon should receive all $40,000 upon his death. During the probate process, Grandpa John’s cousin, Earl, arrives in court and proclaims that he should inherit half of the $40,000. Earl’s only argument for the $40,000 is that he was an old friend of Grandpa John and he believes he deserves some of the money.
Sharon disagrees and refuses to allow Earl to have any of the money. Earl responds by saying he will fight her in probate court unless she agrees to at least pay him $5,000 to drop his case. Sharon is now in a bind.
If she fights for what’s right, she might lose more than $5,000 in legal fees, even if she successfully fights Earl. Also, any litigation may take months to complete, delaying her from receiving any of the $40,000 Grandpa John left for her.
Alternatively, Sharon can simply pay $5,000 to Earl and make him go away. What should she do? That’s where a good probate attorney comes in handy and can provide the best legal option for Sharon, taking into consideration not just the money, but doing what’s right for Sharon and Grandpa John’s legacy.
Learn more about the best litigation firms by contacting our legal team at Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.