The probate process can be confusing and challenging for everyone involved, particularly if you and your family have never been through a legal proceeding. Unfortunately, probate administration also creates a situation ripe for disputes. If you are involved in a family inheritance dispute, you need a knowledgeable Los Angeles probate litigation attorney to help protect your interests.
If you are the one designated to serve as the administrator of your loved one’s estate, for example, you may find yourself under considerable pressure, with duties ranging from collecting and preparing an inventory of the estate’s assets, identifying and paying creditors, determining whether and how to sell certain property to pay outstanding debts and protecting the remaining assets until they can be distributed to any inheritors. The process can be slow and requires meticulous attention to detail. As compensation for the administrator is paid out of the assets of the estate, it is not surprising that other family members who stand to inherit may scrutinize every decision you make. Under the strain of a loved one’s death, and where family relationships may already be frazzled, disagreements and even lawsuits among family members over estate administration are not uncommon.
Careful estate planning may avoid the need for an extended probate proceeding. However, even where a deceased loved one has put the proper documentation in place to direct what happens with their estate, disputes and challenges to the terms of a will, trust or other estate planning documents often occur. This is particularly true where family members believe that the terms of those documents or the decisions made pursuant to them do not reflect their loved one’s true wishes or objectives. Claims of undue influence, mistake, mental capacity and breach of duty are serious allegations that require careful negotiation and potentially aggressive litigation.