Los Angeles Estate Litigation Lawyer

Los Angeles Estate Litigation Lawyer
Barry Law Group

Encino, CA Estate Litigation Lawyer

Los Angeles Estate Litigation Attorney

The death of a loved one is never easy. More often than not, families act out of character when they are mourning the loss of a close family member. Even the most tight-knit families can become hostile during the post-death and estate distribution process.

Whenever one person’s estate is controlled by someone else, there is an opportunity for issues and conflict to arise. Conservatorships, guardianships, and estate distribution are all vulnerable to familial conflict and legal issues. Because of the complexity and serious nature of these agreements, it is important to get proper legal representation should problems arise.

An estate litigation lawyer is distinct from an estate planning attorney. While an estate planning attorney establishes the documents and details of an estate, conservatorship, or guardianship, an estate litigation lawyer gets involved when something goes wrong with one of these agreements. This distinction is important as estate litigation requires an intimate understanding of the details of estates and their executions. Estate planning may include mistakes or inaccuracies, while estate litigation has no room for error.

Finding an estate litigation attorney to help your family can be difficult. Fortunately, our team at Barry Law Group is here to help.

Barry Law Group: Your Los Angeles Estate Litigation Lawyers

For over 40 years, our team of expert attorneys has been representing families during estate litigation situations. Whenever disputes arise or legal issues come up surrounding an estate, we can help to resolve the problem and get your family back on the right track. Because we have so much experience with estate litigation specifically, we can make sure that your case goes smoothly and is handled with the best possible legal care.

No matter what your claim may be, we are confident that we can help. Our law firm is founded on principles of integrity and community. Our services are intended to strengthen your family and our Los Angeles community. You can depend upon Barry Law Group to properly represent you in your estate or probate litigation. Our clients are always our top priority, and our success rate reflects our passion and drive to perform proper estate litigation services.

What Is Estate Litigation?

Many are familiar with estates. Estate planning is a common legal service intended to help individuals create their Los Angeles trust or will. These documents help to make sure that a person’s assets are properly distributed when they die and give you some control over what happens to your life’s earnings. Unfortunately, executing an estate plan can be more difficult than anticipated. Sometimes, issues and problems arise while the estate is being divided, which is where estate litigation comes in.

Estate litigation aims to resolve any problems that arise after an individual is already deceased and their assets are ready to be distributed.

Issues often arise in probate but can come up in other areas as well, depending on the situation. There may be problems with a guardianship clause or conservatorship. An estate litigation attorney helps to settle these disputes to ensure that the deceased individual’s wishes are properly executed and that the family can move on from the practical part of the grief process.

Why Do I Need an Estate Litigation Attorney?

Estate litigation is extremely difficult to endure. When families become confrontational about an estate, it is hard to tell what is the right thing to do and what is simply the opinions of fellow family members. Having an impartial third party to help you through this process can be a significant reassurance. Not only can we work out the legal part of your problem, but we can also alleviate stress from an already emotional process.

Estate litigation attorneys have a unique and difficult role. We can manage several different kinds of disputes to help the estate distribution process go more smoothly.

Probate Litigation

Estate litigation often occurs during the probate process. This is the phase after someone dies, in which their end-of-life documents move through the state so they can properly be distributed. During the probate process, a judge ensures that all of the deceased’s pertinent debts and taxes are paid. If they are not, the judge will have the money taken out of the deceased’s estate.

Once the financial portion is settled, the judge must look at the deceased’s will and be sure that it is legitimate and legal. If it is, the judge must name a will executor. This person will carry out the wishes outlined in the will. In some cases, the will’s executor is named by the deceased, while in other situations, the judge must choose someone.

The executor must then interpret the will and properly distribute the assets according to the document. If something is ambiguous or not specifically stated, the executor must interpret the text and act in the deceased’s best interest to the best of their ability.

Estate Litigation Attorneys and Probate

Estate litigation attorneys can help with several parts of the above probate process. There are many points where conflict can easily occur.

An estate litigation attorney may be involved in authenticating the deceased’s will. Determining if a will is legitimate is a large portion of the probate process. If done incorrectly, the family could lose access to what is rightfully theirs. This is why many families going through probate hire an estate litigation attorney. They need an advocate to ensure that they have the best chance of inheriting what is theirs.

The distribution of assets is another place where estate litigation attorneys are helpful. Many times, members of the family believe that they are owed something different from what they received. In many cases, these individuals make the whole process more difficult by arguing their point of view. This can be especially hard on the executor. An estate litigation attorney can help to clarify what is in the will and defend its contents. This often eliminates a lot of issues that come with asset distribution.

Estate litigation attorneys can be helpful for the opposite scenario as well. In some situations, family members don’t receive a claim when they believe they should. Hiring an estate planning attorney to help you navigate this scenario can help you to get what is rightfully yours. There are many situations in which someone who was not written into the will has a claim to part of the estate and would not have gotten it without an estate litigation attorney.

The probate process is extremely difficult. It is easy for conflicts to arise, and otherwise, close-knit families can be permanently altered. It is almost always best to hire an estate litigation attorney to help you with the legal ramifications of probate.

Filing a Petition

When you work with an estate litigation attorney, your issues will be formally addressed after you file a petition in probate court. This is similar to filing a complaint. Filing a petition requires the expert hand of an attorney, as there is a specific process and format for petitions. If you fail to follow the correct steps to file a petition, it is possible that it will be denied, or you will lose your opportunity.

With the help of an estate litigation attorney, you can be sure that your petitions in probate court are properly created and submitted. The probate process can be slow as it is, but with added concerns, the process can be even longer. Attorneys can help to speed up the process by ensuring that everything is in order.

Interpretation of the Will

Many people are under the impression that their loved one’s will contains straightforward instructions for how to distribute their assets. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Many people only update their will when major life changes warrant new instructions. This means that instructions often need to be interpreted or deciphered in order to properly distribute the deceased’s entire estate.

For example, an individual may update their will when they have a new child or grandchild. However, few people update their will when they buy a new car. This may mean that the new car is not specifically accounted for in the will, meaning that the will must be interpreted to guess to whom the car should go.

Interpreting legal jargon is difficult. Though you likely know your loved one, an estate planning attorney knows how wills work. With an attorney’s help, you can best determine what to do in ambiguous situations while remaining within legal boundaries.

Estate Planning and Fraudulent Wills

In some scenarios, wills are voided because they are found to be fraudulent. This can be the case for several reasons. Some situations in which a will would be considered void would be:

  • The will holder was under duress when they signed the document.
  • The will’s owner was mentally incapable of creating and signing an important document.
  • The person writing the will had undue pressure put on them by another person.
  • A representative for the deceased mismanaged the assets within the estate.
  • The will holder bequeathed items that were not theirs to give.

Unfortunately, some of these situations happen with relative frequency. When you use an estate litigation attorney, you have added assurance that any of these situations will be properly handled. By hiring an attorney, you not only protect yourself and your family, but you protect your deceased loved one’s wishes as well.

FAQs About Los Angeles, CA Estate Litigation Law

How Much Does an Estate Litigation Lawyer Cost in Los Angeles?

Estate litigation issues vary widely, so it is difficult to say how much a lawyer may cost for your case. Often, attorneys charge a percentage of the estate, while other attorneys charge by the hour. Because there are so many variables, be sure to ask any potential attorneys what they charge before you work with them. This will help to mitigate any confusion and ensure that you can afford their firm’s services

What Do Estate Litigation Lawyers Do?

Estate litigation lawyers are central in the probate and estate distribution processes. During this time, issues often arise concerning an estate, the beneficiaries, the inheritances, and more. An estate litigation attorney helps to resolve these issues and acts as an advocate for the deceased’s family. While an estate planning attorney helps the individual writing the will, an estate litigation attorney helps the people who are beneficiaries of the will.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against an Estate?

Yes. It is possible to sue an estate after a person has died, especially if you believe that you have been wronged or passed over in some way. However, your window of time to do this is fairly limited. Once probate is finalized, the estate will be distributed to several beneficiaries. Because of this, you should submit your case before probate has occurred. An estate litigation attorney can help.

What Should You Ask When Hiring an Estate Litigation Lawyer?

When searching for potential estate litigation attorneys, it is important to ask them about their experience. Many attorneys have experience with estate planning, but estate litigation is a different matter. Be sure that your representation has direct experience. You also need to ask them about their fees, to be sure you can afford their services long-term. If you realize during your case that you cannot afford your attorney, your case could be lost.

What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

While estate litigation attorneys help a family interpret and follow through with a will, an estate planning attorney helps individuals to create a will. In other words, an estate planning attorney helps the deceased before they die, and an estate litigation attorney helps the deceased’s family after they have passed.

Contact Barry Law Firm Today

If you need legal support following the death of a loved one, our expert estate litigation attorneys can help. With over 40 years in the business, our team is ready to support you throughout the probate and estate distribution processes. No matter your situation, we have the expertise to help.

For more information about what we can do, contact Barry Law Group online today.

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Barry Law Group is comprised of attorneys and longtime staff members who are committed to the success of your legal matter. The firm understands that for most litigation is uncharted worrisome and often terrifying.