Protect your rights in probate court.
Most of the time, practices in the probate court like admitting wills and assigning executors are uncontested. If a contest of a will and testament does arise, it may require probate litigation.
What is probate litigation?
During the probate litigation process, legal action is taken by or against a deceased person’s estate, with an outcome determined in a courtroom. This involves court battles over issues such as guardianship, patient advocate designations, powers of attorney, trust terminations, and living wills. These lawsuits have to do with any concerns about a person’s last will and testament, including:
- Differing interpretations
- Questions about the document’s validity
- Any changes made
- Allegations of undue influence or incompetency
- Challenges to the qualifications of a beneficiary
- Breaches of fiduciary duty
When is it necessary?
Anyone can incite probate litigation, but there are a few groups and legal situations that create increased risk:
- Rivaling siblings
- Individuals with former spouses
- Dysfunctional families
- Couples without a prenuptial agreement
- A non-standard estate plan (removed a child from the will, etc.)
- An overly detailed trust
- Leaving large gifts to mistresses or someone not close to the family
- A poorly appointed trustee
Texas State Probate Laws
Because estate issues are such a complex and intricate topic, there has to be a statute of limitations on filing challenges to an estate. Texas law states that all contests must be stated within four years of the executor’s death. Other general regulations include:
- Individuals can state their issues with a will and testament any time before the executor’s death; the statute of limitations time period does not begin until after their passing
- If a will isn’t found until several years after death, it can be filed into probate when it is discovered
- If the person challenging the will is a minor, they cannot legally file a contest; they are given two years to contest after they become of age
- If a more recent copy of the will is found (that revokes the original will), the date of probate on the new supersedes the older date
Although these lawsuits often involve family disputes, some cases are a little different. Another form of probate litigation case focuses on trying to recover a loved one’s property and assets from someone outside the family; this could be a caretaker, personal financial planner, or a former significant other. These cases usually help the family resolve some kind of financial exploitation.
Regardless of the situation, when a disputed matter from an estate’s administration must be settled in court, you can depend upon the skilled estate and probate attorneys at Lovelace Law, P.C. to protect your rights.
Connect with a Probate Litigation Attorney
While our attorneys always look for common ground that could lead to a swift and amicable settlement, there are times when negotiations fail and the courthouse is the only option for the closure you need. Having the right legal team on your side is critical. Whenever it is in your best interest, we take your case to court and advocate strongly on your behalf.
Our Fort Worth probate litigation team brings a broad range of experience and reputation for results, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation.