Pasadena Estate Litigation Lawyer

Pasadena Estate Litigation Lawyer
Barry Law Group

Pasadena Estate Litigation Lawyer

Pasadena Estate Litigation Attorney

When someone’s estate is under another person’s control in Pasadena, CA, it can lead to disputes between family members and interested parties. This includes an executor administering an estate, the probate court, a trustee administering a trust, or when there is a guardianship or conservatorship in charge of an estate.

Any of these scenarios can lead to significant legal trouble. When estate litigation occurs during probate or trust administration, it is made more difficult by the loss of a loved one. The distribution and legitimacy of an estate are very important, which is why you want to secure qualified legal counsel if disputes occur.

Working with an estate litigation attorney helps you make more informed decisions, whether you are contesting a will, filing a claim against the manager of the estate, or defending the estate’s terms and legitimacy. An attorney has an in-depth understanding of estate and probate law, and they can help protect your interests during the process.

Barry Law Group: Your Pasadena Estate Litigation Attorneys

Barry Law Group has worked for more than 30 years helping families with disputes and decisions about estates. This experience has given us a unique understanding of the probate process and the many types of estate litigation claims. We can use our many years of experience to help you with your estate, will, or trust litigation needs, no matter how complex they are.

It’s important to us that we fight for the most ideal outcome for your case. You and your family’s needs are our top priority. We advocate diligently for your interests and work against those who mismanage or mistreat an estate they are responsible for. Whether you are prosecuting an estate dispute or defending an estate from a complaint, we can protect your rights.

Understanding Estate Litigation

An estate is the entirety of a person’s assets and liabilities, including all real and personal property. Many people have an estate plan, which designates how their estate is distributed after their death. An estate plan may include a will, a trust, and a power of attorney, among other documents. Depending on the estate plan, some or all of a person’s assets may go through probate court after their death.

Estate litigation may occur after the person’s death regarding the administration and distribution of their estate. Although many estate plans aim to minimize will and trust contests and other litigation issues, this isn’t always possible. Estate litigation could also occur if there are concerns or problems with a guardianship or conservatorship clause.

Common reasons for estate litigation include:

  • An accusation that the executor, trustee, or administrator has breached their fiduciary duty or mismanaged the estate
  • Questioning whether a will or trust is valid
  • A belief that the person who created the estate plan was not mentally capable of creating or changing their will when they did
  • Creditor claim disputes
  • Petition to establish an heir through paternity
  • A claim that the will was improperly executed or has an alternate interpretation
  • Allegations that the creator of the estate plan was under duress or a victim of fraud
  • A belief that the will or trust has been tampered with

These estate disputes can only be brought forward by those who can be impacted by the outcome of estate litigation. This includes:

  • An heir or beneficiary
  • A creditor
  • A charity
  • A person who believes they should have been a beneficiary

The person who files the claim must expect a change in their circumstances because of the litigation. Otherwise, a person cannot begin an estate dispute claim.

Why Do I Need an Estate Litigation Lawyer?

During probate and other estate administration processes, even well-meaning families can become confrontational. Disputes over an estate may be legitimate worries, or they may be misguided or spiteful claims. Having an attorney on your side to protect your interests and help your family through this process can be invaluable. Your attorney can give you legal counsel, which can also give you some confidence regarding the next steps you take.

The legal matters of estate litigation can get very complex, very quickly. A legal professional can guide you through disputes and resolve litigation as effectively as possible. The estate administration process includes many attorneys and legal professionals, but they do not represent your interests. They only represent the interests of their client and the estate. You need someone who can advocate for your needs.

The Process of Estate Litigation

When you understand the general process of estate litigation, you’re better prepared for your own claim. Your attorney can outline what to expect in your unique case.

  1. Consultation and Strategy
    You and your attorney discuss the specifics of your situation and your goals for prosecuting or defending an estate. An attorney learns about your needs and wishes for this estate dispute claim. They can then explain the likely outcomes of your claim, including whether it can be settled out of court or if it will enter litigation. Litigation can be costly and time-consuming. At Barry Law Group, we prepare for litigation but attempt to settle out of court first.
  2. Filing the Petition
    Your attorney can then help you file your petition with the probate court. This petition may be an initiating document for the estate claim, or it may be an objection to a petition filed by another party. Petitions need to be drafted and filed in a certain way to improve their chances of being approved. By ensuring that your petition is correct, and that other requirements are met, an attorney can significantly speed up the probate and claim process.
  3. Objection or Response
    Depending on your situation, another party may file a response or object to your petition. The probate court informs all interested parties, such as administrators, beneficiaries, and creditors, of your petition. Any of them may file, and the estate claim is considered contested if they do.
  4. Investigation and Discovery
    You and your attorney work to collect evidence to support your claim or objection, and there may be an investigation. Discovery is the legal process of gathering information and evidence that will be used during trial. It may include:

    • Requests for documentation
    • Subpoenas to third parties
    • Requests to provide testimony
    • Deposition of witnesses

    These proceedings are exceptionally hard to navigate successfully without an attorney who understands the process.

  5. Settlement
    Not all estate disputes end up in court. Many cases settle before litigation through negotiation and mediation. Settlement means that a resolution is reached by both contesting parties with the help of a third party, like an attorney or judge. It’s important to talk with your attorney about whether settlement or litigation is better for your case. Settlement is often less time-consuming and expensive, but there are situations where it is not in your interests to settle your dispute.
  6. Trial
    If the parties can’t reach a settlement, then the case will enter litigation. Estate litigation will be overseen by a judge, who will hear the evidence and testimony from both sides and make a final decision based on that information. At Barry Law Group, we have experience and success in litigation, which we can use to your advantage.

FAQs About Pasadena, CA Estate Litigation Laws

How Much Does an Estate Litigation Attorney Cost in California?

The cost of an estate litigation attorney depends on many factors in your individual case. This includes the type of estate dispute you are settling, whether you are responding to a petition or filing one, how complex your case is, and other issues. It also depends on whether an attorney charges based on a contingency fee percentage of the estate or an hourly rate. Always establish an attorney’s fee and fee structure prior to working with them.

Do Trusts Pay Taxes?

A trust is subject to income taxes on a state and federal level. If a trust is simple or complex, it may pay its own taxes. However, grantor trust taxes are the responsibility of the grantor to pay. To understand how state and federal income taxes impact your trust and beneficiaries, talk with an experienced attorney.

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a Living Trust in California?

Creating a living trust in California may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Working without an attorney may only cost a few hundred dollars, but hiring an attorney can ensure that your trust will be found legitimate in court. If you’re worried about contests to your trust, it’s even more important to work with an attorney on strategies to avoid this. Otherwise, you may go through the effort of creating a trust, only for your assets to enter probate anyway.

What Percentage Does a Lawyer Get for Settling an Estate in California?

A probate attorney’s fees, and an executor’s commissions, from settling and administering an estate are explained by the California Probate Code. The percentages are based on the gross value of an estate. This means that debts are not factored into the value. The percentage fee is:

  • 4% on the first $100,000
  • 3% on the following $100,000
  • 2% on the next $800,000
  • 1% on the next $9 million
  • 5% on the next $15 million
  • Estates above $25 million will be assigned a reasonable fee by the court.

Contact Barry Law Group Today for Your Estate Litigation

Estate litigation can be overwhelming for any family. Let our experienced attorneys help you through the process. Contact Barry Law Group today to see how we can guide you through your estate dispute.

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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.