Estate Litigation: Protecting Your Rights Regarding A Loved One’s Estate
Estate Litigation is decidedly different than a Probate dispute in that the action is filed and heard in Circuit Court rather than Probate court. Estate Litigation interrupts the Probate process in order to determine the resolution of the Circuit Court litigation.
“I have been a practicing attorney since 1990, and have always been involved with litigation. I have been focused on estate litigation and administration for more than a decade. That focus and my 25 years of litigation experience separate me from other lawyers who provide Probate services.”
— Attorney Key Schoen
Estate Litigation covers various topics. The most common is an action contesting the Decedent’s Will. In order to file a Will contest in Kentucky, a person must be a beneficiary named in a prior Will, or someone who would stand to benefit if there was no Will related to the Decedent (spouse, child, sibling, etc.). There are a number of reasons why a Will may be contested, including:
- Lack of testamentary capacity — A Will was signed and the testator did not understand the consequences of his or her actions, did not clearly understand the value of his or her assets, or was not capable of making reasoned decisions due to dementia, senility, medication or another cause.
- Manipulation or undue influence — If the testator was influenced and/or coerced into signing the Will while in a weakened state mentally or physically by a benefactor. There are numerous signs or “badges of undue influence” that the law in Kentucky recognizes as indicators of “undue influence”.
- Fraud — The testator was misled or tricked into signing a Will through false representation or misleading information.
- Forged signature — Someone other than the testator forged the testator’s signature on a Will.
Cause For Concern Is Not Always Evident
Often, individuals suspect something is not right about a Will yet they are hesitant to take action because they do not understand the laws in this area or do not want to be cast in a negative light before their relatives. The best step is to enlist the services of an experienced Will contest lawyer who can review the situation and tell you if further action is appropriate or necessary.
Key Schoen Law in Louisville has represented clients in Will contests, on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, for more than 15 years. Whether representing a plaintiff who is challenging a Will or a defendant who is protecting the Will in question, Key Schoen is at his best in these cases. This is a unique area of the law that requires a thorough understanding of the complexities involved. The attorney you select will affect the outcome of your case.
Get A Sense Of The Best Step To Take Next
In order to speak to Key Schoen, call or use the contact form on this website to schedule a meeting or telephone consultation. Key Schoen can answer your questions about Will contests.
A Strong Advocate In Trust Litigation
Trust documents can be contested for the same reasons a Will can be contested. That is, assuming a person has standing, Trust documents can be contested and ultimately determined to be found invalid for reasons of:
- Mental incompetence
- Undue influence
For more information see Will Contests.
Unlike Wills, which are administered through the public Probate court process and are more easily examined, Trusts, by contrast, are frequently used to avoid Probate. This makes it more difficult as a beneficiary to determine whether you are being treated fairly or if the decedent’s assets have been properly managed.
If you have reason to believe that a Trustee has mismanaged funds or is not adhering to the wishes of the person who created the Trust, it may be time to hire an attorney. Key Schoen represents clients in Trust litigation.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the power of subpoena and the laws of discovery apply. These legal authorities enable a closer examination of the Trustee’s management of the Trust. Key Schoen represents clients in a wide range of Trust litigation matters, including:
- Breach of fiduciary responsibility
- Accounting and investment errors
- Undue influence and/or mental incompetency claims
- Suspension or removal of fiduciaries
Key Schoen Is Trial-Tested
Like all litigation, estate/Trust litigation can be costly and time-consuming endeavors. At Key Schoen Law, we attempt to resolve matters without the need to go to trial in order to minimize the emotional toll and the financial costs. However, if a fair agreement cannot be reached, Key Schoen’s extensive trial experience provides his clients with someone who is at his best in front of a jury.
Again, most estate lawyers do not have a jury trial background. Besides his 25 years of litigation experience, Key Schoen’s trial successes are undeniable.
Because of the confidentiality afforded to Trustees, it may be difficult for you to determine if you have a legitimate legal problem. If you would like to meet with Key Schoen or schedule a telephone consultation, please fill out the contact form and email, or call Key Schoen law to schedule same.