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Estate, Guardianship And Conservatorship Litigation

Estate Litigation Attorney in Arlington, Virginia

Estate litigation is where a myriad of issues intersect, often including fiduciary duties, tax law, real estate, family businesses, and creditor's rights. Similarly complex, guardianship and conservatorship litigation is fast-paced and emotionally charged. It's important to have a law firm that has experience in handling these matters on your side.

A will contest challenges the admission of a will to probate or seeks to revoke the probate of a will that has already been probated by the Circuit Court. A similar type of estate litigation can take place contesting the terms of a trust. The most common causes of action in both will contests and estate litigation follow.

1. Lack of Capacity

Under the law, a testator is required to have the testamentary capacity to make a last will and testament and to understand the nature of his or her estate assets and the people to whom the estate assets are going to be distributed. A will or trust can be declared void if lack of capacity at the time the document was executed can be proven. Lack of capacity may possibly be established through a prior medical diagnosis of dementia, senility, Alzheimer's or psychosis.

2. Undue Influence

A cause of action for undue influence may arise when the testator is compelled or coerced to execute a will or trust as a result of improper pressure exerted on him or her, by a relative, friend, trusted advisor, or health care worker. In many cases, the undue influencer will upset a long established estate plan where the bulk of the estate was to pass to the descendants or close relatives of the decedent. In other cases, one child of the decedent will coerce the decedent to write the other children out of the will or trust.

3. Lack of Formalities

Proper execution of a last will and testament or trust requires that the will or trust be signed with the proper formalities. A last will and testament can be contested on the basis that it was not properly drafted, notarized, signed, or witnessed in accordance with the law.

4. Breach of Fiduciary Duty

The personal representative of an estate or the trustee of a trust owes the beneficiaries of the estate or trust certain fiduciary duties of honesty, prudence and loyalty. When those duties are violated by a trustee or personal representative, a cause of action may arise.

5. Elective Share

Some states provide an elective share to surviving spouses, which provides the surviving spouse with a portion of the deceased spouse's estate according to a statutory formula. Deadlines may be associated with claiming the elective share. The surviving spouse should not simply assume the amount they are set to receive from a will or trust exceeds the amount they might otherwise receive by electing their elective share.

6. Forged Documents

Documents can be forged to create unintentional outcomes with the intent to deceive. A cause of action may arise when documents appear altered or falsified.

Contact An Arlington Lawyer For Guardianship, Estate Planning And Probate

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Gene Robinson Law, PLC
4620 Lee Highway
Suite 216
Arlington, VA 22207
Phone: 703-224-8282
Fax: 703-910-2100
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