Estate and Trust Litigation Attorney in Gainesville Serving Clients Throughout Florida
Harrison Estate Law, P.A., offers years of experience representing clients in estate and trust litigation within the Florida probate and civil courts. We help clients resolve disputes between family members and co-inheritors, as well as litigation involving trustees and personal representatives. Our estate and trust litigation attorney team can help you balance your family’s priorities and ongoing relationship with the need to have estate administration done right. We will take the time to help you understand the legal issues that apply to your family trust or the distribution of a loved one’s estate.
What Trust and Estate Litigation Means in Florida Courts
Trust and estate litigation are two types of probate litigation cases that get filed in the Florida probate or civil courts. No one wants to go to court while they are grieving. Unfortunately, probate disputes are unavoidable for many Florida families. After a loved one dies, problems with his or her estate plan, improper execution of the estate by a court-appointed personal representative, or trust administration problems can all require beneficiaries or heirs to step in and set things right.
These lawsuits can put family members in conflict, and can sometimes raise uncomfortable questions about a loved one’s mental state and intent in the days leading up to their death. That is why it is important to work with an estate and trust litigation attorney who will balance compassion and advocacy in representing your family and defending their interests. At Harrison Estate Law, our probate lawyers are skilled negotiators and listeners. We understand what litigation means for your family, and will help you determine when and how to take your concerns to the Florida court.
When to Talk to an Estate and Trust Litigation Attorney
It is a good idea to talk to an estate litigation lawyer as soon as you become aware of any possible concerns surrounding the proper administration of a loved one’s estate or trust. You and your family will naturally still be grieving. Having an estate and trust litigation attorney on your side can help make sure no one files an estate administration case without notifying you. That said, most people talk to an estate litigation lawyer after they receive a Formal Notice or Notice of Administration indicating that an estate has been opened for their loved one, or after a Trustee has failed to take certain required steps. It is important to schedule an initial consultation with an estate litigation lawyer as soon as possible so you have time to review the probate documents, determine if there is a reason to challenge the will, and start an estate litigation case if necessary.
Common Types of Estate Litigation
There are many paths that can lead to filing estate litigation. The most common are Will Contests. These are filed when an invalid or outdated Will is submitted to the probate court for administration, or when the personal representative of the estate is interpreting the Will incorrectly.
The Determination of Heirs makes sure the correct beneficiaries receive assets from the estate. For example, this type of estate litigation can be used to establish the paternity or maternity of unacknowledged children, or adjust for an omitted spouse or later-born child.
Undue influence claims are filed when a loved one changes their estate plan at the last minute, or under suspicious circumstances. They can be used to prevent a manipulative caregiver or relative from inheriting if they coerced your family member into signing a Will they didn’t understand.
Lawsuits to remove a personal representative are less common, but they can be necessary if the person put in charge of your loved one’s estate becomes unable to do the job, or is not honoring your loved one’s wishes.
When Trust Litigation is Necessary
The purpose of creating a trust is to avoid putting heirs through the time and expense of probate court. But sometimes trust litigation is necessary to make sure a loved one’s instructions are being honored, and their affairs handled properly.
Most often, trust litigation is filed by the trust’s beneficiaries against the trustee in charge of managing its assets. Sometimes the issue is just interpreting the language of the trust to determine the trust grantor’s intent. However, in other cases, beneficiaries may sue trustees for violating their fiduciary duty to the trust, or mismanaging its assets. A person’s natural heirs may also file a trust contest lawsuit for many of the same reasons a Will may be challenged in probate court. Talk to an estate and trust litigation attorney at the first signs of trouble, so you can avoid the trust’s assets being further depleted or improperly distributed among the beneficiaries.
Contact Our Gainesville Attorneys for a Complimentary Consultation
Harrison Estate Law is happy to help you challenge an invalid Will, or protect your family’s right to proper trust administration. We are here to help you understand Florida probate law and defend your loved one’s wishes and your family’s needs during the administration of their estate or trust. Please contact us online or via email or call 352-559-9828 to schedule a free consultation. If you don’t live close to Gainesville, our estate and trust litigation attorney team is happy to set up a phone or Zoom call. We have extended evening and weekend appointments available by request.