Estate litigation cases involve formal legal objections over the distribution of assets and inheritance after someone passes away. These legal objections may result from an estate plan being altered due to undue influence or other disagreements over the way that the estate is being administered.
These cases are often highly complex and require representation from an attorney that specializes in both probate, and trial litigation cases.
The estate litigation lawyers at Di Pietro Partners have decades of trial experience and a firm understanding of Florida’s probate and estate laws. Our legal team is well equipped to represent your interests and provide you with top tier representation both in and out of court.
We represent clients in legal matters such as:
- Contested Wills
- Disputes Among Trust Beneficiaries
- Issues With Personal Representatives or Executors
- Legal Guardianship Disputes
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Inheritance Disputes
- Cases Involving Estate Fraud (i.e. Fraudulent Transfers, Forgery, etc.)
- Undue Influence
- Mental Capacity Issues
If you’re involved in a legal dispute, or have legal issues involving wills, trusts, or probate in Florida, contact us for a free consultation. 1.800.712.8462
Estate Litigation Cases Involving Trusts
The person responsible for managing assets within a trust is called a trustee. In Florida, trustee’s have several important functions and duties. For instance, trustee’s are responsible for handling a trust’s assets according to the written wishes of the settlor. Trustee’s are also responsible for filing estate tax returns and handling other financial obligations.
These responsibilities and duties are outlined in the Florida Trust Code.
In short, a trustee has been appointed by the settlor to oversee that assets in a trust are being fairly and properly administered to the named beneficiaries.
Unfortunately, in some cases, a trustee mishandles these assets and certain beneficiaries do not receive their proper share. There may be other issues with the way a trust is being handled or even issues with the trust itself. These issues may lead to formal legal objections and ultimately litigation.
Common legal disputes involving trusts include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty by the trustee
- Unlawful distribution of assets held within the trust.
- Mental capacity issues or undue influence over the settlor
- Sudden modification of the trust
- Issues with formalities (i.e. signing, witnessing, executing)
Our law firm is highly experienced in estate litigation cases involving trusts. If you’re a trustee and require legal defense, or you’re a beneficiary raising a formal legal objection over the actions of a trustee, we can help.
Estate Litigation Cases Involving Wills
In Florida, legal disputes involving wills are filed in probate court and typically must be submitted before completion of the probate process. These legal disputes may involve issues with the document, or issues with the behavior of a family member, caregiver, or personal representative.
For instance, one of the more common reasons a will is challenged is due to the validity of the document. The validity of a will may be challenged if there’s potential issues with the competency of the party drafting it. It may also be challenged if the document was drafted under false pretenses or if the will was improperly signed, executed, or there’s existing wills already in place.
Reasons for challenging a will include:
- Improper Execution
- Diminished Mental Capacity
- Unlawful Changes to the Document
- Foul Play From a Family Member or Third Party
Estate Litigation Cases Involving Notice of Administration
When a decedent passes away, all interested parties will receive a Notice of Administration. This formal document not only provides notification of a decedent’s death but also notifies them of the filing of the last will and testament for probate purposes. Any objections to the validity of the will and/or the probate proceedings must be made within a certain time period otherwise the individual will forfeit their right to do so.
There are a number of different legal bases for litigation to challenge the validity of a will and probate proceedings in order to stop the administration of an estate. These include but are not limited to:
- Lack of Mental Capacity
- Undue Influence
- Intentional Interference with an Expectancy
- Improper Signing of the Will
When an individual receives a Notice of Administration that informs them of a limited time frame for a response, the provisions of the notice will override any deals, promises or assurances that not contesting will result in that individual getting their fair share. Oftentimes, those responsible for administering the estate will use this as a way to cheat an individual out of their right to contest a will or the probate proceedings, as these verbal agreements are simply unenforceable.
It is vital that individuals rely solely on the timeline laid out in the notice provisions and work with an attorney specializing in estate litigation to file a formal dispute through the proper legal channels. This will ensure that their best interests are protected and that they have the best possible legal outcome in their litigation case.
How An Attorney Can Help
An experienced estate litigation attorney is vital when dealing with disputes over wills, trusts, and other legal issues involving an estate. These matters are highly complex and emotional and most are unfamiliar with the procedures and requirements to successfully defend or contest an estate in court. Lawyers specializing in this area of law understand the courts and possess the necessary skills and experience to effectively represent you in court.
Our law firm is based in Fort Lauderdale with office locations throughout Florida. We accept these cases regardless of your location as long as the estate in question is based in Florida.
If you are named as a personal representative of a deceased Florida resident, or you are involved in a disputed will or trust, contact us for a free case review.