Estate Litigation Lawyer Memphis TN

Estate Litigation Lawyer Memphis TN

Disagreements during probate typically call for the help of an estate litigation lawyer in Memphis, TN from Patterson Bray. If you are familiar with the probate process, you are aware that it can sometimes be fraught with argument and disagreement. Such disagreements can frustrate the probate process, costing the estate money in court and attorney fees and increasing the amount of time it takes to complete disbursement of the estate’s assets. This increased time and cost can put a financial strain on potential heirs and can also put creditors at risk of not being able to collect their debts owed.

Additionally, disagreements during probate can add to the already stressful emotional situation of losing a loved one. Considering the potentially high monetary and emotional stakes, you should consider consulting with a member of our team to discuss any concerns you have about probate disputes. Consulting an attorney before disputes manifest as litigation can help you head off conflict at the pass. If you are already involved in a probate dispute, hiring us to protect your interests can be an important step in getting fair results in the most efficient manner possible.

Potential For Disagreements

Even when you meticulously plan your estate, there is a potential for disagreements to occur between beneficiaries, heirs, executors, and other vested parties. An estate litigation lawyer Memphis TN residents trust is well versed in probate law and understand the intricate procedures and rules that come with the probate process. For years we have been representing clients whose rights may have been affected after a will has been probated at the Probate Court.

Common types of probate disputes include:

  • Disputes Regarding Who Will Be Appointed Executor or Administrator.
    If a will does not specify an executor, if the named executor is deceased or incapacitated, or if the competence of the named executor is in question, a dispute can arise among potential heirs or interested parties. A disputing party may ask the court to appoint another person as the executor, starting the entire probate process on an adversarial foot, particularly if interested parties cannot agree on an alternate appointee. 
  • Disputes Regarding Identification of Assets.
    Disputes can also arise if potential heirs or creditors believe that the will’s executor is not being forthright or thorough in his or her identification of the assets in the estate. Misidentification or misvaluation of assets can result in lower payments to creditors and heirs. Heirs and creditors may ask at this point in the probate process for another executor to be appointed, may present evidence of assets not considered in the initial audit, or may raise potentially more serious allegations of fraud or wrongdoing on the part of the executor, particularly if he or she has a financial interest in the assets of the estate. 
  • Disputes Among Creditors.
    Creditors may challenge the valuation and available assets within an estate. Creditors may also dispute with each other as to which creditor gets first dibs on the assets of the estate. This becomes important if an estate’s debt is large such that the value of the estate may be completely consumed, leaving “last in line” creditors with no payment. Heirs may also challenge the legitimacy of creditors to try to protect the estate and preserve assets for distribution to themselves. 
  • Disputes Among Heirs.
    Heirs may also dispute the value of the assets to be distributed, the order in which assets or distributed, or may even dispute the validity of the will altogether. This can be particularly stressful and ugly, and it is imperative that you get the help of a Memphis estate litigation lawyer as soon as possible.

Whether you are a beneficiary, heir, or executor, if you believe the estate is in some way vulnerable, you did not get your fair share of the estate, or you’re being accused of making an error as the executor, please call our law firm for assistance.

Common Causes of Action to Contest a Will

A will contest is a formal objection to the validity of the will. In general, a will contest is filed when one or more parties believes the will doesn’t reflect the true intent of the testator. There are a number of reasons to contest a will, including:

  • Lack of mental capacity 
  • The nature and extent of one’s property
  • The relationship of those who would inherit the property
  • A general understanding of the effects of the will
  • Undue Influence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty

If a person is thought to lack mental capacity at the time they wrote the will, it is possible to contest the will claiming that it is not valid. Usually, this is possible when the testator suffered from dementia, alzhiemers, a head injury, or some other mental condition at the time of the writing of the will.

Undue influence may occur when one person exerts pressure upon the testator of the will. In other words, they coerce the person to leave their assets in a certain way, to gift their assets while alive, to disinherit to inherit someone, to sign a contract, and so forth. A TN estate litigation lawyer would need to prove that the influence was so strong that the testator could not refuse to give into the pressure. 

The person who is in charge of the estate has a duty to manage the will and adhere to his or her duties in the correct manner. They must act honestly and in good faith. All of their actions should be transparent at all times. If they fail to do so, it may be considered a breach of fiduciary duty. In this case the estate and it’s heirs may ask an estate litigation lawyer to file a lawsuit against the administrator. 

In addition to the above, our law firm may be needed for issues that involve:

  • Abuse of a power of attorney
  • Abuse of guardianship
  • Beneficiary rights
  • Ordering a surcharge of personal representative
  • Removing a personal representative of the estate
  • Probate fraud
  • Forgery
  • Alteration to documents

Regardless of the context in which estate litigation arises during the probate process, it will likely increase the stress level in an already tense situation. Having a competent and skilled litigator on your side, who is also familiar with estate law in your state, can make all the difference in protecting your interests and ensuring proper and timely administration of the will.

If you believe you have a probate litigation matter, please call our law firm for advice and assistance. For more information, call a trusted Tennessee estate litigation lawyer in Memphis at Patterson Bray.