Austin Estate Litigation Attorney
Few things stir up consternation among family members more quickly and with more volatility than a dispute over an inheritance. Surviving relatives, creditors and other stakeholders can seek to contest a will – and take the dispute to court – even if the decedent worked hard to document his or her final wishes in clear and full detail.
Probate litigation tests the legitimacy of a will in a court of law. It aims to resolve issues that arise over the estate’s tax implications, the behavior of the personal representative and the demands of beneficiaries and creditors. In some cases, mediation can resolve these disagreements. However, depending on the nature of the debate and the facts in dispute, litigation may be the only viable or acceptable path forward.
Here are a few reasons why a beneficiary might contest the validity of a will:
- A family member believes the deceased was not in full control of his or her mental faculties at the time of the will’s writing. Perhaps medication related side effects or a diminished mental state caused by an illness led the decedent to make illogical, arbitrary or unfair stipulations in the will.
- The deceased wrote his or her will under duress or while facing undue influence from other family members. Difficult to prove, these types of allegations can lead to intense and lengthy litigation and can create rifts in the family that endure for years.
- The will does not account for changes in the deceased’s assets and estate between the time of writing the will and the time of death.
- There was proven interference with respect to the writing or signing of the will.
- The deceased showed undue or excessive favor toward one family member over another.
- A family member believes the executor failed to faithfully fulfill his or her duty to distribute the assets of the estate in a timely fashion or to otherwise act as a fiduciary to the estate.
Austin Probate Litigation Attorney
Surviving family members need to consider the costs and frustrations of litigation against the potential positives. Depending on the length and scope of the litigation, the court process could drain substantial assets from the estate. Ideally, family members should strongly consider alternative strategic approaches, such as mediation or litigation.
Our experienced legal team can assess your dispute and suggest an effective approach. We want to help you and your family achieve a fair outcome that also honors the legacy of your loved one. Please call 512-499-8900 or email us to schedule a private, confidential consultation.