Arizona Probate and Trust Litigation attorneys
Maricopa County | Pima County | Pinal County | Yavapai County | Mohave County
Regarding probate and trust litigation, it’s essential to understand that even the most minor inaccuracies in your trust or will can cause significant complications. As a settlor, grantor, or trustor, you need to be aware of the potential issues that can arise during the lifetime of your revocable trust and after your passing. Learn more about the following:
- An overview of the probate litigation process
- The probate and trust administration process
- The potential for litigation
With our probate and trust litigation experience, we can help avoid costly disputes and ensure assets are distributed according to the trustor’s wishes.
With that said, let’s get started.
How to protect the estate from being contested in court!
How to Secure the Trust’s Legacy?
In layperson’s terms, a trust is a legal agreement that allows a person or entity, known as the trustee/trustor, to hold and manage assets on behalf of another person or group of people, known as the beneficiary or beneficiaries. A living trust can be changed anytime, unlike an irrevocable trust. Once a person passes, the revocable trust turns irrevocable. Protect your trust from contestation with careful drafting, clear communication, and professional guidance from experienced trust attorneys.
What happens when a trust or will gets contested?
When a trust or will is contested in Arizona, it usually is due to a few factors. Here is a partial list:
- Undue Influence: Undue influence is a legal term used to describe when a person is coerced or manipulated into making decisions they would not otherwise make.
- Misappropriation of trust funds: Misappropriation of trust funds is the illegal or unauthorized use of trust assets by a trustee or other party.
- Lack of transparency: Lack of transparency refers to the absence of clear and open communication or disclosure, resulting in a lack of information and understanding about a particular situation or transaction.
There are other reasons why a beneficiary or heir will contest the trust, or contest a will, but the above are common examples. As a trustor, it is essential to have verbiage in the trust discussing discussing the above scenarios letting everyone know you considered these concerns.
Probate and Trust Litigation
During the probate and trust litigation, an Arizona trust and probate attorney will help uncover the truth and the trustor’s wishes, including probate law.
We added below questions people ask to help them understand the trust and probate litigation process:
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What happens to property when someone dies without a will? When someone dies without a will, their property will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy in their state of residence. Probate will be opened, typically involving the distribution of assets to the deceased person’s closest living relatives, such as a spouse, children, or parents.
- What is an executor of a will? An executor of a will is responsible for managing the deceased person’s estate and ensuring that their assets are distributed according to their wishes. An executor will typically involve paying off debts, filing taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
- What can an executor not do? An executor cannot act against the best interests of the beneficiaries or make decisions that are not in line with the deceased person’s wishes. They also cannot take assets from the estate for personal use or gain.
- What happens to a house when the owner dies without a will? When a homeowner dies without a will, the property will typically be distributed according to intestacy laws. Opening probate may involve selling the property and distributing the proceeds among the deceased person’s heirs.
- What happens to a home in a trust after death? When a home is held in a trust, it will pass to the trust’s beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement. A trust can provide a streamlined and private way of passing on the property after death.
- Can an executor decide who gets what? An executor cannot determine who gets what on their own. They must follow the instructions outlined in the will and ensure that assets are distributed to beneficiaries following the deceased person’s wishes.
- Can an executor change a will? No, an executor cannot change a will. They are only responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in the existing will.
- What is an example of executor misconduct? An example of executor misconduct may include embezzlement or mismanagement of assets, failure to follow the instructions outlined in the will, or acting against the best interests of the beneficiaries.
- Does an executor have to show accounting to beneficiaries? Yes, an executor is generally required to provide an estate accounting to beneficiaries and show how assets were managed and distributed.
- When a husband dies, what is the wife entitled to? When a husband dies, the wife is typically entitled to a portion of his estate, depending on the laws of intestacy in their state of residence. The probate or trust administration process may include a share of the property, assets, and other belongings.
- What is a child entitled to when a parent dies without a will? When a parent dies without a will, their child may be entitled to a portion of their estate according to the laws of intestacy in their state of residence. This may include a share of the property, assets, and other belongings.
- What happens if an executor does not communicate with beneficiaries? Executives may violate their fiduciary duty if executors do not correspond with beneficiaries. Beneficiaries have a right to be kept informed about the estate’s status and the assets’ distribution.
- Can a trustee remove a beneficiary from a trust? Sometimes, a trustee may be able to remove a beneficiary from a trust. This typically requires evidence of misconduct or violation of the terms of the trust agreement.
- What evidence is needed to contest a will? To challenge a Will, you will need proof that may be required to show that the deceased person did not have the mental capacity to create a will, that they were unduly influenced, or that the will was otherwise invalid.
- Can the executor of a will take everything? No, the executor of a will cannot take everything for themselves. They are responsible for managing and distributing the estate assets according to the instructions outlined in the will.
- Can a trustee be a beneficiary? Yes, a trustee can be a beneficiary of a trust as long as there is no conflict of interest and the trustee acts following the terms of the trust agreement.
- Who has more rights, a trustee or a beneficiary? Trustees and beneficiaries have different rights and responsibilities. Trustees are responsible for managing and distributing trust assets, while beneficiaries have the right to receive distributions from the trust. Both parties have essential roles in ensuring the trust is executed under its terms.
Roles with the Trust and probate litigation
What are the roles during a probate and trust litigation process?
Regarding trust and estates, there are a few important roles. They are as follows:
- Trustor/Grantor/Settlor: Trustor/Grantor/Settlor determines the terms of the trust, selects a trustee to manage the assets, and designates beneficiaries who will benefit from the trust.
- Successor Trustee / Trustee: A Successor Trustee, also known as a Trustee, is an individual or institution named in a trust agreement to take over the management and distribution of trust assets if the original trustee is no longer able or willing to serve.
- Beneficiary / Heir: The beneficiary can be an individual, a charity, or any other organization specified by the trust’s creator. The beneficiary has a right to the assets or income as defined in the trust document, and the trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiary.
- Drafting Attorney: The drafting attorney is the lawyer who creates legal documents, such as trusts or wills, for a client. They are responsible for ensuring that the document accurately reflects the client’s wishes and is legally valid. The drafting attorney may also advise on estate planning and other related matters.
- Opposing counsel: Opposing counsel refers to the attorney or law firm representing the opposing party in a legal matter or dispute. They are responsible for advocating for their client’s position and protecting their legal rights and interests in court.
- Current counsel: “Current counsel” can refer to any lawyer or law firm currently representing a client in a legal matter.
There are other roles in estate planning, like paralegals, creditors, etc.
With what we shared, you should be able to get a good grasp of what to expect during the trust and probate litigation matter.
Meet The Team
Falsely Accused of Undue Influence – What to Understand
ADDRESSING FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF UNDUE INFLUENCE FOR TRUSTEES IN ESTATE PLANNING As a trustee, your role in managing and overseeing an estate plan is essential. You are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the testator's wishes are carried out, and their...
Trustee and Beneficiary Conflict of Interest – What to Know
Trustee and Beneficiary Conflict of Interest Understanding Conflict of Interest Claims for Trustees As a trustee, you have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust's beneficiaries or possibly face trustee removal and civil matters. Your fiduciary...
Sibling Living in Deceased Parent’s home – Refuses to Leave
Sibling living in deceased parents' home Brother or sister refuses to leave. Ah, what a plight! Two siblings received the family home through inheritance, and one lives in the home. One sibling wants to stay in the house, while the other wants to sell it -both are...
Undue Influence: Attorneys, Examples and Cases
HOW TO PROVE UNDUE INFLUENCE AND PROBATE CODE SECTION 86 If you believe that your loved one made changes to their estate plan due to undue influence, you may be able to have those changes overturned if you can prove that your loved one was under undue influence at the...
Grounds for Contesting a Trust in California
Request a Case Review Today Call us at 888-318-4430What Are Grounds for Contesting a Trust in California? There are many reasons someone may want to contest a trust in California. Family members who have been left out of the Trust or think the trust assets have...
What is the Difference between a Litigator and a Lawyer
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LAWYER VS A LITIGATOR Definition from Merriam-Webster: one who carries on a legal contest by judicial process: one who litigates legal cases Are litigators the same as lawyers? Lawyers offer legal advice and assistance to clients....