Howard Stallings’s estate litigation practice encompasses every aspect of litigation pertaining to wills, trusts and estates, and guardianships, including will disputes, claims of breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of entrusted property. With over 20 years of litigation experience, our estate litigation attorneys aggressively and sensitively represent our clients (whether it is the estate or the individual) in complex estate litigation matters, which are often difficult and trying times for our clients and their loved ones.
Estate litigation is a serious legal matter. The distribution of a deceased loved one’s estate can be a complex and difficult process. There are a variety of issues that can arise out of an Estate which our skilled attorneys can assist with.
There is a variety of grounds upon which wills can be contested. Should you believe that a will was executed by a person who did not have the mental competency to execute a document, our attorneys can assist you in filing a will caveat to challenge the validity of the will. In addition, wills can be overturned if it can be proven that the person who signed the will was being unduly influenced by another person to do so.
Division of Personal Property
Wills often leave instructions on how a person wanted their personal property divided between their heirs. If the administrator (or “executor”) of an Estate is not dividing the personal property properly, or you believe they may be using their position to hide assets or otherwise favor themselves or others in the estate distribution, you may have legal rights to enforce the will as written. In addition, it may be possible to remove the executor and have yourself or an independent person be put in place as executor of the estate. Serious matters require the legal assistance of a skilled attorney to prosecute or defend against these claims.
Retirement and Bank Accounts
It is becoming more and more common for decedents to have retirement accounts or bank accounts pass through a beneficiary designation made separately from their will or estate plan. This can include 401(k) accounts, IRAs, pensions, life insurance policies, CDs, savings accounts, investment accounts or bank accounts. If these accounts have been retitled or the beneficiary designations have been changed, and the decedent was either incompetent or being influenced to do so, you may have legal rights to have those changes reversed. Our attorneys can help you overturn these retirement account designations or return money to bank accounts after it has been moved.
Misuse of Power of Attorney
As Power of Attorney forms become more popular, it is also becoming more common to see misuse of this power. Our attorneys are experienced in reviewing the actions of a person who has a power of attorney over someone else to determine if there has been misuse or fraud. If a power of attorney has misused or stolen money, our attorneys can file a lawsuit to recover these funds on your behalf.