By having a well designed estate plan in place, it is possible to avoid disputes and litigation among surviving loved ones, beneficiaries and fiduciaries. Nonetheless, disagreements may arise within families pitting parents against children, brothers against sisters, or the family against surviving business partners. Biddle Law is dedicated to devising innovative solutions to challenges that arise in connection with the administration of trusts and estates in California.
Common San Mateo County Estate Disputes
In the event a dispute arises, the estate might have to be litigated in what is referred to as a will contest. This is a proceeding in the probate court which often involves challenges to the validity of the will, including:
- Undue influence – the testator changed the will under duress or persuasion by a beneficiary
- Mental incapacity – the testator was either incapacitated or in an impaired mental state at the time the will was executed
Further, a will may be contested if it was not executed according to state law or if it was revoked after it was signed. Moreover, if it can be shown that the testator was deliberately misled by a third party, the will may be considered fraudulent.
In addition, will contests often arise when there are questions about the capabilities or trustworthiness of the individual appointed as personal representative. In some cases, a disinherited family member may make a claim to the estate proceeds. Lastly, disputes may arise when portions of the will are confusing, or the structure of a trust is challenged.
Alternatives to Estate Litigation in San Mateo
At Biddle Law, we recognize that litigation can be an emotional and financial burden for family members and fiduciaries. For this reason, we often advise clients to pursue mediation to reach a negotiated resolution. This process involves working with a mediator, typically a retired probate judge or experienced probate attorney, who acts as a neutral third party in helping the parties reach a compromise.
Ultimately, mediation can minimize the legal expenses for both sides and reduce the tension that is likely to arise if a case is taken to trial. In the event that litigation concerning an estate is unavoidable, however, our attorneys will vigorously protect your interests in probate court. If you are involved in a dispute concerning a trust or estate, Biddle Law will provide you with superior legal representation and help you navigate this difficult process.
Contact Our San Mateo County Estate Litigation Lawyer
Biddle Law proudly serves the areas of San Mateo County, Burlingame, Foster City, San Carlos County, Redwood City and Belmont, California. Contact our office today for a consultation with our experienced estate litigation lawyer.