Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario from Steve Shane – 12.2.13

Question:  What are some of the reasons for estate or “probate” litigation? Answer:  When someone dies, the probate process often begins.  Probate is the process of identifying and inventorying assets of the deceased, appraising the property, paying debts and taxes and distributing the property in accordance with the Will.  Some reasons litigation might happen are: 1.  Breach of fiduciary duty:  Is the Personal Representative acting in the best interests of the estate beneficiaries?  The Personal Representative may have stolen funds, used estate funds improperly, or even potentially invested funds improperly. 2.  Will Contest:  Did the testator sign his Will under coercion or duress? Did the testator have capacity to sign his Will or was the testator forced into signing something that he didn’t understand or didn’t wish to do? 3.  Intestate:  Was there a Will?  If not, state law determines how property is distributed to the heirs. If the decedent passed away with no Will, litigation might result to figure out who should inherit. Comment:  Conflicts among heirs frequently arise when an estate plan is not properly drawn up and executed. Steven E. Shane Principal Offit│Kurman Attorneys At Law 301.575.0313 Washington 443.738.1513 Baltimore 410.218.9339 Mobile 301.575.0335 Facsimile Please note the above material discussed is intended to provide only general information. Do not, under any circumstances, solely rely on this information as legal advice. Legal matters are often complicated. For assistance with your specific legal problem or inquiry please contact me directly.