Probate and Trust Litigation

Discretion is usually the better part of valor, especially in this area. Instead of rushing in where angels fear to tread, I try to work things out respectfully.

There are no two ways about it. Death is an unpleasant subject.

Probate and Trust Litigation
However, being ill-prepared for this inevitability is much, much worse. Probate is the legal process that makes a will official. All wills go through probate. If lawyers do their homework, the process is usually straightforward. But if there is no firm foundation, the process could literally go on for decades. Jimi Hendrix’ heirs spent over thirty years in court. Trusts move money or other property from an individual owner to an artificial person. There are many different options to consider and many unforgiving rules to follow. Truthfully, most of the probate and trust litigation matters I handle arose because someone did not take the time to do things right. Some examples include:

If you have questions about will and probate matters, I have answers.


Speaking of Questions and Answers. . .

The three basic estate planning documents are a will, living will, and power of attorney. Wills make determinations about people and property after your death. Strict rules apply as to their drafting and execution. A living will is also called a directive to physicians. It delineates some end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney gives a trusted person power over your affairs in the event of your incapacity.
The personal representative must file an inventory of the estate. This inventory is public record. Trusts are private, which is another reason to get one. The personal representative also settles all estate debts and claims. If no one challenges the will’s validity, that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Everyone has a duty to pay taxes, but no one has a duty to overpay taxes. So, it’s perfectly okay to avoid the estate tax. Property in trusts do not pass through probate, which means this property is not subject to the estate tax.

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