We often hear about estate litigation after a celebrity passes away – even if the celebrity had a valid will. Relatives and creditors often come out of the woodwork to try to gain a piece of large estates and they can use litigation as their tool. However, estate litigation is not limited to celebrities. It can occur to anyone’s will, regardless of the size of your estate or your financial status.
Estate litigation is any legal challenge to a person’s will after they pass away. Challenges can also be made to a person’s estate that has been divided by the courts in situations where there is no will. Estate litigation challenges can be brought by distant family members, past spouses, business partners, creditors, caregivers, etc. Every situation is unique.
Estate Litigation Reasons
A person cannot simply petition the courts just because they want more money. There must be a valid reason for the litigation.
- Influence of Others: If someone feels the deceased was under pressure from others to include or reject certain individuals from the will, it may be declared invalid. In this case, a judge or jury will determine if the estate plan is valid.
- Mental State of Deceased: If people feel the creator of the will was not of sound mind when it was created, the will may be declared invalid.
- Abuse of Power: If the executor of the estate is not acting in the best interest of the estate – or if they are stealing from the estate – in the executor may be sued for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Money is Owed: If the deceased has outstanding debts, creditors can sue for monies due.
- Division of Assets: If the beneficiaries cannot agree upon how assets will be divided, they may petition the court to decide how the assets should be distributed.
Estate litigation in Denver can become lengthy, expensive and stressful. Regardless of which side you are on, the team at Brown & Crona, LLC can help make the process as smooth as possible.
If you find yourself in the center of an estate dispute or need help contesting a will in Denver, contact us today at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to schedule a meeting.