Litigation – Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Probate
Disputes may arise from either death, disability or incapacity (either someone young or older). Different types of litigation may be filed in court when the estate of a person is unclear or challenged. Understanding the types of litigation, and when you can bring a claim to court can help you determine if you may have a strong case.
Litigation While A Person is Alive
There are some cases of litigation that occur when the person who executed a will or estate planning document is still alive. In these cases, there may be an issue of guardianship when a fiduciary is appointed to make either medical, financial or personal decisions on behalf of an adult who lacks the capacity to do so, or a minor child. Oftentimes, these disputes can be time-sensitive due to the fact that urgent medical needs may need to be determined, or some time-specific bills need to be paid on the person’s behalf. If there are two persons arguing over who has the true power of attorney, or two children arguing over who should make financial or medical decisions regarding their elderly parent, the situation may have to be litigated for a court to make the final determination. Oftentimes, a court may make a temporary appointment of a fiduciary as the case is being decided if there is any chance of substantial harm to the incapacitated person.
Litigation After a Person Has Passed Away
More commonly, probate litigation occurs after someone’s death, and the beneficiaries and heirs of the decedent disagree regarding some estate planning documents such as the will, trust, determination of title, inheritance, fiduciary duty breaches, or gifts. Many times the litigation will center around whether or not the decedent truly had the mental capacity to make a lucid determination regarding his or her wishes when the estate planning documents were created and executed. Many parties argue that there was either incapacity or undue influence by another party. Other reasons to dispute a will or trust would be improper execution of an estate document or even theft or conversion of assets by one beneficiary.
Most of the time, probate litigation occurs due to family infighting or disputes regarding who should have received family heirlooms or the assets of an estate. However, not only family members argue about an estate. Non-family members may have attempted to exploit the decedent, and other parties such as caretakers, financial advisors or close friends can all attempt to argue that they are owed part of an estate.
Contact an Experienced Probate Litigation Attorney
Either before or after a loved one’s death, you may find yourself in the middle of a probate battle, regarding the medical decisions or financial assets of a loved one. If you are a family member that believes their loved one’s estate planning documents do not reflect their intentions, contact an experienced probation litigation attorney as soon as possible to help you understand your legal rights. Contact our experienced Prince Frederick estate & trust litigation attorneys serving southern Maryland at Meng Law at 410-535-5500 or online today.