Help with Estate Legal Disputes in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, probate or trust litigation, legal disputes often begin with a claim that centers around the recently deceased. Either the deceased wrote a document or had their attorney write a document concerning the fate of their estate. Usually, the attorney will write up the document if the deceased was unable to do so at the time because of either "diminished capacity", or because they were "unduly influenced" by another person.
A claim of ‘diminished capacity’ will sometimes be made if it looks as if the deceased suffered from dementia, was under the influence of medication, or had undergone a treatment that caused clouded or unclear thinking. A claimant will often believe the Will, or Living Trust, does not reflect the wishes of the deceased. For example, a claimant may have been entirely omitted from the Will as a beneficiary or may have been given less than they believe they would have been bequeathed if the Will hadn’t been altered shortly before death. The belief is that if the deceased had full capacity, the claimant would have received their fair share of the estate.
A claim of ‘undue influence’ will sometimes arise when the claimant believes the deceased wrote the Will while someone else, usually the person who ends up receiving the most from the estate, persuaded or manipulated the deceased into making their share a great deal larger than any other share of the estate.
Violations of the Law
Some legal disputes arise when a trustee of the Trust or executor of the Will is found to be in violation of the law or in breach of their fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty is the obligation the executor or trustee has to obey the rules and regulations that apply to carrying out the terms of the Will or the trust. Sometimes a fiduciary, while trying to do what is best for the person to whom they are responsible, will go about it the wrong way. This typically ends in a legal dispute between all parties involved. Trust administration is governed by the California Probate Code and ought to be navigated with an experienced attorney to ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out according to the law’s requirements.
Executor of Estate
Another common estate legal dispute is that of deciding who in the family gets control over the estate once the estate holder has passed away. This type of dispute can include questions as to who should be executor if no one was named, as well as who should assume the role if the person named does not or cannot serve. To have power over an estate as the executor is to have the power to control the entire property and assets of the deceased. The person who gets control as an executor potentially can earn a fee that makes being the executor lucrative.
Other Sources of Legal Disputes
An estate legal dispute can arise in other ways as well. Sometimes the terms of the legal document, the Will or Living Trust, are unclear or are subject to more than one interpretation. Accusations of forgery or fraud, the failure to follow the document’s terms, not acting in the interests of the beneficiaries, and failing to properly account for all property and assets can all result in a legal dispute. It’s important to have a good litigation attorney by your side to sort out these issues in a calm and logical way.
Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Port
Our attorney, Mitch, strongly advocates on our client’s behalf whenever a legal dispute arises. Under the proper circumstances, we will bring a dispute to the court’s attention and work toward a resolution by drafting the appropriate petitions. In all circumstances, we will provide the most compelling supporting evidence needed to persuade a judge of our client’s point of view.
Are you or someone you know in need of a great litigation attorney? Reach out to the Law Office of Mitchell A. Port for a free phone consultation (310) 526-3433, or contact us online for all your litigation questions.