What Do You Do if You Have a Will Dispute?
Following the death of a family member or loved one, the last thing anyone wants to do is dispute the will. Unfortunately, there is no convenient time for these disputes to arise. Disputes over the validity of the will, interpretation of its terms, or how the will is being administered are much more complicated, perhaps even impossible, once the estate has been closed. If you are a beneficiary of an estate and have concerns about the will, the best thing you can do is contact a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney as soon as possible.
Gather Your Evidence
At a minimum, you want to make sure you have a copy of the will, any other documents filed with the probate court, and any correspondence you have received related to the estate. Beyond that, the type of evidence you need will vary depending on the nature of your dispute. For example, if you believe the will is invalid due to undue influence, you will need to carefully consider what evidence you have to support that claim – evidence that will demonstrate who influenced the decedent, when it likely occurred, and how. Even if it isn’t ultimately admissible in court, this evidence can help a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney evaluate your potential claim and provide you with the guidance you need.
Notify the Personal Representative
Notifying the personal representative of your dispute and demanding that they take the appropriate action is a possible option for resolving the dispute without litigation. The personal representative probably wants to wind up the estate as quickly as possible, and therefore may be able to resolve the issue in order to avoid delays. However, the deadline for formally raising your dispute (known as a will contest) may be rapidly approaching. As a result, you want to be prepared to move forward with litigation very soon if the personal representative either will not or cannot resolve the matter.
File Your Petition with the Probate Court
If you are unable to resolve your issue with the personal representative, the next step is to file a petition with the probate court. Your petition will be treated as an adversary proceeding, sort of like a lawsuit within the context of the probate proceeding. As a result, you will need to file a legal pleading according to the procedures of the probate court. You also need to be sure to file your petition within the appropriate deadline or you will lose your rights, often within 90 days of the will being filed. Filing a petition is complicated for most non-lawyers, and as a result, you should consider contacting a Boca Raton probate litigation attorney to help you with your case.
Contact a Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorney at Ellis Law Group
At Ellis Law Group, we help clients resolve their probate disputes quickly and cost-effectively. From simple, straightforward disputes, to complex litigation, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience you need to protect your rights. To schedule a consultation about your dispute, call us today at 561-910-7500 or contact us online to discuss your needs and how we can help.