When someone passes away, many family members come together to support one another and grieve together. However, for some, the start of the estate administration process can lead to conflicts. Estate-related disputes can take significant time and money, as well as cause stress and possible familial rifts.
If you are facing a possible inheritance dispute, you want the legal team of Pedder Hesseltine Walker & Toth. As the premier estate litigation firm in Alameda County, we can provide trusted representation and strive for the outcome you deserve.
The importance of legal assistance with inheritance disputes
When family members disagree about inheritances and estate administration, it can be a highly emotionally charged situation. Often, family members accuse others of misconduct and cheating them out of their rightful inheritance. Those accused will likely get very defensive, denying any wrongdoing to protect themselves from liability.
Amid these challenging conflicts, it helps immensely to have an estate attorney on your side. A lawyer can:
- Listen to your concerns and give objective advice on you whether you should take legal action
- Advise how to defend against accusations of estate-related misconduct
- Negotiate between family members to try to resolve the matter out of court
- File estate litigation with the probate court when necessary
- Gather evidence and build a strong case to support your claims or defense
- Represent you in court and handle the entire litigation process
This is never something you should try to handle yourself. There is a lot on the line, including financial support and family relationships. Allow our estate litigation lawyers to help you.
Common types of inheritance disputes
Inheritance disputes can arise among family members or beneficiaries regarding the distribution of assets after someone’s death. These disputes often involve personal, familial, and financial concerns and have the potential to strain relationships. While each situation is unique, there are several common inheritance disputes that often occur.
Questioning the validity of the will or trust
Beneficiaries may challenge an estate document’s authenticity, arguing that the deceased lacked mental capacity, was under undue influence, or that the document was forged. These disputes require a thorough examination of evidence and may involve the testimony of witnesses or experts.
Unequal distribution of assets
When beneficiaries feel that the division of assets is unfair or inconsistent with the deceased’s intentions, conflicts can arise. Unequal treatment can lead to allegations of favoritism or manipulation, especially when significant assets are involved.
Appointment of executors or trustees
Family members may disagree on the suitability or competency of the designated individual, leading to conflicts over the administration of the estate or trust. Questions about the executor’s performance or allegations of misconduct can further escalate the dispute.
Blended families can be a common source of inheritance disputes. When a deceased person has children from previous marriages or relationships, conflicts may arise between stepchildren and biological children over inheritance rights and entitlements. There might also be conflicts between current spouses and children from a previous marriage.
Seek assistance from our Alameda County estate litigation attorneys
The law firm of Pedder Hesseltine Walker & Toth can assess your estate dispute and advise on the best course of action, representing your interests every step of the way. Contact us for more information.