At Fortson, Bentley and Griffin, our probate and estate litigation attorneys make every effort to resolve probate and estate disputes efficiently and with a sensitivity to the recent loss of a loved one.
The first step in the legal process of administering a loved one’s estate is probate. Probate is the process by which a will is determined to be the valid last will and testament. In some cases, the beneficiaries of the estate are specified in a will. In other cases, the court system appoints an administrator to divide assets, pay taxes and close the estate. In either situation, conflicts involving unequal inheritance distributions, the legitimacy of the decedent’s will or other disputes often arise and can complicate the probate process.
Our probate and estate litigation attorneys represent both those who wish to contest wills and estate administrations as well as those who are tasked with defending against these contests. In such proceedings, the following issues may be addressed:
- Competence of the testator: If a person is not competent, such as in situations involving dementia or other degenerative diseases, he or she may not be able to create a valid will.
- Undue influence: When family members or acquaintances exert too much influence over a testator, any will that he or she forms may be invalid.
- Will formation requirements: Issues such as having required signatures and the form of the will can derail what would otherwise be a valid estate plan.
Individuals with substantial assets frequently establish trusts in addition to or in place of a will to outline how assets should be distributed after death. Similar to a will, a trust may be contested for a variety of reasons. Our firm handles trust actions, including:
- Beneficiary claims
- Accounting of trust finances
- Trust misappropriation and mismanagement
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Allegations of fraud, duress, undue influence, coercion, lack of competency and other questions of validity
If you are seeking experienced legal representation in probate litigation, please contact us online or by telephone at 706-548-1151 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.