Probate Litigation when THERE IS NO Will or Trust
Probate Litigation is common. Would you be surprised to learn that two-thirds of Americans die without a will – including lawyers and those who should know better? Society, it seems, has trouble planning for their inevitable demise. Unfortunately, when a person dies without a will, their families must often go through a long probate process and many families will become involved in probate litigation.
Michael J. Hurley can help if you feel disinherited or are an executor being harassed by heirs, beneficiaries or creditors.
Probate Litigation when THERE IS A Will or Trust
Also not surprising, where there is money and property to be allocated and divided following a death, there will be disagreements, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. Probate litigation often occurs EVEN WHEN there is a will or trust, but family members and potential beneficiaries disagree about the validity of the will, the construct of the writing of the documents, the interpretation of the documents’ meaning, any potential beneficiaries left out of the will, and even the descendant’s mental capacity at the time the will or trust was drafted.
Legal Help for Will Contests and for those Wrongfully Disinherited
When a loved-one passes away, sometimes the heirs do not get the full inheritance to which they expected or were entitled and they may be wrongfully disinherited. Disagreements frequently arise after a family member’s death, either through miscommunication, executor or trust administrator misbehavior, violations of proper probate rules, and general beneficiary disputes. If you feel as though you did not receive your full inheritance, you need the help of a probate litigation attorney who is expert at resolving common or complex inheritance issues including challenging the validity of a Will (called “Will Contests”), call us. We will help you take action immediately as there are statutes of limitations for filing a claim in court.
Will and Trust Contests – Massachusetts Probate Litigation Attorneys
A will or trust contest is exactly what is sounds like –a challenge to the validity of a document purporting to be decedent’s last will and testament. A “contest” may occur either before or after submission of the will to probate.
Any “Interested Person” may contest a Will or Trust
Any “interested person” may contest a will or trust. A will contest can be raised before or after the will is admitted to probate by any “interested person.” The Probate Code defines an ‘interested person’ very broadly so as to include a decedent’s spouse, registered domestic partner, children, heirs, testate beneficiaries, creditors, and “any other person having a property right in or claim against” an estate which may be affected by the proceeding.
Unfortunately, administrators and executors do not always follow the prescribed legal steps necessary to properly and legally probate a will. A lot of people die each day. Consequently, every day of the year, there are thousands and thousands of inexperienced individuals appointed as administrators and executors. Errors and outright wrongdoing are very common. Sadly, beneficiaries are the ones who suffer, as their inheritances are not distributed the way the decedent had intended.
Have You Been Wrongfully Disinherited?
Will contests often involve bitter disputes among family members. If you think that you have been wrongfully disinherited and wish to contest the terms of a will, it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel.
Examples of issues leading to a “Will Contest” and need for Litigation
While every will contest is different and unique, they often have similar themes. For instance, a common will contest might involve a dispute between a second spouse and the decedent’s children from a first marriage. In will and trust contests, Michael J. Hurley typically represents potential heirs who have been disinherited. Mr. Hurley can assist you with any issues that might be a valid concern for a will contest and litigation, including:
- Every will must conform to a number of legal requirements.
- –The failure to do so can invalidate the will.
- A will is not valid if it was signed under “undue influence:”
- –When the person signing the will is coached, controlled, or dominated by another.
- –Using undue influence to coerce a decedent into writing a will that favors him or her.
- If the decedent did not have proper capacity to execute his or her will, the will is not valid.
- Allegations of forgery or the existence of conflicting wills.
- Distributing an inheritance or real property outside of probate.
- Executor’s breach of fiduciary duty or conflicts of interest.
- Beginning a probate, but failing to complete it.
- Beneficiary disagreements.
- Accounting disputes.
- Removal of an executor.
Objection to a Will or Trust? – You Must Act Quickly
According to the Massachusetts Probate Codes, all heirs must receive notice during the probate process. If you are an heir, or a potentially-overlooked heir or beneficiary, and you have an objection to a will or trust and fail to make proper notification prior to the first hearing date, you will have a difficult battle trying to recover your full inheritance. When it comes to will contests and trust litigation, you must act quickly. Michael J. Hurley can assist you in voicing your objection to a will or trust in a timely, eloquent, and proper manner.
Will Contests Are Often Decided by the Size of One’s Wallet and Resources
Unfortunately, legal contests often come down to a battle of wallets and resources. The party with less money and resources may not be able to take a “will contest” case through to its conclusion, though the legal costs in question might be but a fraction of the person’s potential inheritance. Individuals with limited resources may reluctantly decide to forego bringing an otherwise solid and valid claim because they cannot afford to hire a competent probate litigation lawyer. Not only does Michael J. Hurley offer his clients flexible fee arrangements and accepts credit cards, additionally Michael might consider –in some cases– to accept your will contest and probate litigation case on a contingency-fee basis. If Michael agrees to a contingency-fee arrangement, that will afford you top-drawer legal representation without worrying about litigation costs and attorneys’ fees.
Trustees and Executors are often Faulted and Accused of Wrongdoing
Beneficiaries can sometimes be overly emotional, unreasonable, irrational, and demanding. The person nominated as Trustee or Executor to administer the will or trust can be asked to do the impossible and then faulted and accused of wrongdoing when beneficiaries don’t get what they expect. If you are nominated to be the Executor of the will or the Trustee of a trust, it is wise to have legal assistance, when needed, to make sure you do everything correctly and in the brief time frames demanded by the court. Michael J. Hurley can be retained by the executor or trustee to lend legal assistance when needed, provide experienced counsel to get questions answered as they come up. This assures that the executor or trustee will be handling the descendant’s estate properly. Moreover, Mr. Hurley’s already reasonable fees can be paid from the proceeds of the estate, lessening any further burden on your shoulders.
Skilled Probate Litigation Lawyer in Massachusetts
Michael J. Hurley is a skilled and seasoned Massachusetts probate litigation lawyer. Michael is tough and zealous in the defense of his clients’ rights. He will be happy to meet with you and review your case, advise you of what to expect, and how he might help you.