Wills and Trust Disputes Attorney in San Diego, CA
The purpose of wills and trusts has been reiterated time and again and its importance is very much understood. These estate planning documents are essential to:
- Preserve a decedent’s legacy
- Ensure that their estate gets administered accordingly
- Make sure their last wishes are followed to the dot
- Heirs will receive their rightful inheritance
Passing away without a will or a trust leaves plenty of confusion for loved ones.
While most wills and trusts go through probate or are processed without much of an issue, there are certain circumstances wherein disputes involving a will or a trust occur.
Certain disputes arise due to the testator being under undue influence or not being able to fully comprehend the nature of the will. This can cause grave conflict between family members. In such situations, the legal help of a wills and trust disputes lawyer comes in handy.
An estate planning lawyer can surely help smoothen out matters involving inheritance, wills, trusts, and probate. If a family is going through a rough dispute regarding wills and trusts, it is vital that they know the process – from designating executors, to managing the estate, to necessary probate court appearances.
If you’re from San Diego and surrounding areas, you should know that there is a reputable wills and trust dispute attorney in your location. Get help from Attorney Vincent Casiano, an estate planning & estate litigation attorney who can walk you through the dispute process and ensure the best possible outcome for your situation.
What are Wills and Trusts Disputes?
Wills, trusts, inheritance, and other probate matters are typically done at a time of emotional vulnerability and stress, so it is common that there are questionable circumstances surrounding them.
For starters, wills are legally binding documents used in the practice of estate planning that entails a person’s last wishes and how they want these to be executed. Testators are the individuals who create the will while executors oversee the process of estate administration. Beneficiaries are the individuals who receive inheritance, better known as heirs.
Trusts are fiduciary relationships between the trustor or grantor and the trustees, the former being the one to entrust properties and assets to the latter. Since it is more direct, trusts are a great way to avoid probate. Trust disputes occur when the circumstances meet certain grounds. The contents of a will are open for dispute, especially if there are individuals or entities not named as heirs but are entitled to a part of the testator’s estate.
If you believe that there are grounds for disputing a will or a trust, enlist the help of a legal professional who is well-versed in probate and trust litigation in California. A San Diego wills and trust dispute attorney can walk you through the process of disputing a will to make sure you get what you deserve if need be.
Can I Challenge a Will or Trust in Court?
Vinny describes the situations in which a person has a claim to challenge the course of proceedings in this video. He discussed the three most crucial factors one should take into account when deciding whether to challenge a will or a trust in court or if they have grounds to do so.
What Are the Most Common Grounds for Disputes?
As previously mentioned, there are certain grounds for dispute that one needs to meet in order for the will or trust to be valid for contesting. The disputing party is typically the will’s beneficiary but contents may also be disputed.
A popular example is if an individual who believes he or she is entitled to property is being left out of the will, then they can dispute.
Here are some other grounds for dispute:
- When a person believes that they are entitled to a certain asset or property but this isn’t what they received.
- The location of the testator’s death is unclear since location matters in inheritance rules.
- The heir dies during the probate process or dies before the testator.
- Properties not accounted for are in a testator’s will.
- The items for inheritance distributed to a beneficiary does not physically exist at the time of the testator’s death.
Disputing a will or a trust isn’t easy work. If you’re disputing an estate planning document in San Diego, California, it is wise to have a wills and trust dispute attorney by your side. An attorney will guide you through the whole process and fight for you so you can receive what is due.
What to Do if I Suspect Dispute Over Trust Administration?
In the video, Vinny goes over what you need to do if you think an estate or trust is being mismanaged. Prior to the appointment of the administrator, he emphasized the value of consulting a legal.
Are Disputes Avoidable?
Most disputes can be resolved through communication between the disputing parties and the estate’s executor. The probate process resolves the conflict if communication isn’t enough because the probate judge will resort to complying with state law to fairly distribute the estate and stick to what the testator’s wishes are.
Here are some ways to avoid legal disputes:
- Ensure that your estate planning documents are always updated
- Make it a habit to maintain current records of everything involving your estate: from its contents to who receives the inheritance
- Add a no-contest clause to avoid disputes over the wills. These clauses may be referred to as anti-contest provisions that state that should an heir challenge the will, they will forfeit any claim they may have to the estate.
- Enlist the help of a San Diego probate and trust litigation lawyer like Vincent Casiano who can help you determine if a no clause contest is necessary for your will.
What Should Be Done Before a Dispute?
Before disputes occur, the will may be presented to the court in order for the probate process to commence. The probate court will be the ones to decide how the estate should be handled based on a set of legal procedures. States vary in their laws regarding the probate process and dispute.
Here are some of the typical procedures involved:
- The probate court appoints someone to be a legal personal representative or executor if the will has not designated one
- The executor manages the estate first by filing documents
- The probate court reviews the will to determine its validity
- The executor ensures that all debts and estate taxes of the deceased are paid off
- The court distributes assets to beneficiaries
The estate’s executor needs to file a probate petition in the state’s probate court. This petition is accompanied by a notice of petition or a notice of probate. The notice serves to announce that they are submitting a testator’s will for probate and to notify individuals who may have interest in the estate.
Seek Legal Advice from a Wills and Trust Disputes Lawyer!
If you are encountering disputes involving your wills & trusts in the San Diego area, it is smart to have the expert legal assistance of a seasoned wills and trusts disputes attorney by your side.