Overview of Probate & Estate Litigation

In many instances, an estate will have to go through probate. Probate is the court-supervised procedure which gives recognition to a will and appoints an executor or an administrator for the estate. When the decedent dies with a will, the personal representative is referred to as an executor and he or she is nominated by the decedent. When the decedent dies without a will, it is referred to as dying “intestate.” In such cases the family will usually name an administrator to manage the estate. A personal representative can be:

  • One or more individuals
  • A family member
  • A bank
  • A trust company

What is probate litigation?

Probate or estate litigation is simply “contesting a will.” When there is a large estate, several real estate properties, bank accounts and gifts, it’s not uncommon for beneficiaries to become involved in probate litigation. It’s important for people to review their estate plans periodically in order to keep them current. When they fail to do so, the will doesn’t always reflect family relationships which can change over time. It’s especially important to update the will whenever there are changes such as a birth, death, marriage, divorce, changes in assets, or changes in tax laws.

While it’s human nature to procrastinate, when someone puts off writing a will, it can be disastrous for the family members. A will should always be prepared when a person is in good health and in the position to make decisions regarding its provisions. A hastily-contrived or “death-bed” will often fails to accurately carry out the wishes of the maker, or it can be found invalid or hotly contested in court by the beneficiaries. Some of the most common reasons for probate litigation include:

  • Beneficiaries are making claims of undue influence
  • Disputes about the personal representative
  • Beneficiaries arguing over the distribution of assets
  • One of the beneficiaries receives the lion’s share of the assets
  • The beneficiaries aren’t given a full accounting of the property
  • The details about the creditors have not been disclosed

Need an attorney for a probate litigation case in Arizona?

Probate litigation concerns actions brought to court against a deceased person’s estate. Such actions are often brought on by beneficiaries who either disagree with the terms set forth in the will, or they have disagreements with how the estate is being managed. Whether you are a beneficiary or a personal representative, we urge you to contact a Arizona probate litigation attorney from Ferris, Thompson & Zweig for aggressive legal representation. Please call us today at (480) 543-8700 to schedule a consultation.