While no one wants to combine grief with litigation, sometimes it happens. The probate and guardianship section at Underwood Pekins knows how to navigate these matters effectively and with sensitivity. Whether you are on the grieving side and navigating a will contest or a creditor seeking payment from an estate, we consider the whole picture to create the most successful outcome possible.
Our attorneys offer experience in probate and guardianship litigation matters, including will contests, contested beneficiary and heirship rights. If you are a creditor, we guide you through the claim process.
Probate and guardianship proceedings can help you manage assets for your beneficiaries. If you have a minor child or a loved one facing incapacity, we can establish a guardianship to protect their property and interests. These actions ensure that your dependents and loved ones receive the care they need while also preventing asset waste, or financial abuse.
We can represent you through any probate process and support informed decision-making. Our focuses areas often include:
Probate is the legal process taken after someone dies to pass legal title and ownership of assets from the deceased to another person. It involves submitting a Will to court (if there is one) and proving it valid. If there is a Will, the court empowers the named executor to identify, appraise, and inventory property. Once finished, the executor pays debts and taxes and distributes the remaining property as directed in the Will.
Sometimes there is no executor named in a Will so the court appoints an administrator who performs all the executor duties. After paying debts and taxes, the administrator distributes the assets according to state law. If there is no will, the Court will determine who receives the decedent’s property and who will administer the estate.
The administrator or executor will review estate debts and publish a notice for creditors. Sometimes a specific notice is sent to a creditor. You have specific deadlines and procedures to file a claim if you receive this notice or know your debtor has died.
Sometimes, administrators or executors may overlook debts. If you receive word that a debtor died and you did not receive notice, you need to track down the probate case and file your claim. If you don’t, you risk the estate closing before paying you.
In either case, consult a probate attorney to ensure you follow the court processes correctly.
Will contests are complex matters, because of the emotional elements. If you believe a loved one drafted a Will under the influence of another person, or an executor submitted a fraudulent Will to the court, you require immediate legal assistance. Contact the probate litigation attorneys at Underwood Perkins as soon as possible, as time is of the essence in will contests.