The Best Ways To Reduce Litigation Risk During The Probate Process


One of the most common issues that family members worry about when handling probate matters is taxes. However, the biggest, and most expensive issue that family members should be concerned about is litigation. One of the goals of a probate attorney is to avoid unnecessary litigation and legal proceedings down the road. Estate litigation, especially in a case where it is alleged that there as undue influence, is especially challenging, since the most important witness is dead. 

Follow The Rules

The most basic rule for avoiding litigation related to probate is to follow the rules. There are many rules that are designed specifically to keep clients and transactional attorneys out of litigation. A dispute often arises because someone failed to follow the rules.

Have A Professional Medical Assessment Of The Client

It is a good idea to have a professional medical assessment of the client before any documents are signed. If the medical professional can identify any behavioral problems at the time of the signing or cognitive impairment, this can help significantly reduce the amount of litigation that might be involved. If there are no behavioral problems, the documents can be treated as the will of the client. 

Have A Reasonable Will

Another way to avoid unnecessary litigation is to have a will that is reasonable. When each party feels that he or she is getting a reasonable portion of the assets, it is less likely that one party will feel the need to sue. 

Take Advantage Of Documents Designed To Prevent This

There are also many documents that can be drafted to avoid litigation involving guardianship. Living wills, trusts, healthcare directives and durable power of attorney can all assist in avoiding unnecessary litigation when determining guardianship.

Work With An Informed Attorney

Litigation is best avoided with the help of a skilled attorney who is highly informed about the facts of the case and is armed with detailed notes from the client who requested the will. For example, if there is a family member who is seeking a large bequest and is applying undue influence, this may be a sign to not include him or her in the estate planning process. A highly knowledgeable attorney will be able to anticipate problems before they happen and will be able to prevent them. The attorney should also be clear with who he or she is representing, often in writing, so that each party can make decisions based off this.

To learn more, contact a law firm like Moore, O'Connell & Refling PC.


17 July 2016

do you really need an attorney?

There are so many legal situations that you can find yourself involved with, but do those situations really require that you hire an attorney? Some instances you may not need an attorney working with you, but in other situations, an attorney is definitely a necessity. This blog contains tips and advice for working through the different elements of the legal system. You will find information that can help you determine if/when you need to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Knowing this information can help you avoid the costly mistake of taking on the legal system without someone who knows how the system works.