Washington DC Probate Litigation Lawyer
The probate process determines the immediate and long-term legal rights of all heirs and legatees. As soon as a person passes away, any party can submit a petition to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to ask to initiate the probate process. However, before doing so, it is vital that all parties understand their rights.
Potential heirs and legatees do not need to stand by while the court makes its decisions. In fact, courts act only if they receive a valid complaint from a party who alleges that impropriety has occurred. In these situations, you may need a Washington DC probate litigation lawyer to take the lead. A qualified trusts and estates attorney could explain the laws that apply to your situation, analyze the actions of other parties, evaluate documents, and make persuasive arguments in court on your behalf.
Opportunities to Pursue Litigation in Washington DC
When a personal representative files a petition for probate with the DC Superior Court, those involved must be aware of their rights. This initial filing will suggest a form of probate and determine whether a small estate may be possible. However, potential heirs and legatees have the option of contesting these suggestions, which can be critical in determining the length of probate and the duties of the personal representative.
Another common reason to pursue litigation concerns the authenticity of a will. According to Code of the District of Columbia § 20-305, any person may file a complaint with the court alleging a will is invalid due to fraud, duress, or a lack of mental capacity on the part of the testator. However, the individual must file a complaint no more than six months following their receipt of notice. A local probate litigation attorney could help to protect individuals’ rights through the process and assist those who wish to file a complaint.
Litigation May Also Arise Concerning the Actions of Personal Representatives
Even if the probate court accepts a will as valid, certain circumstances may give cause for litigation. Many examples of this involve the duties and actions of personal representatives. By law, personal representatives must administer to the estate with good faith, and a failure to accomplish this could violate the legal rights of many parties. In this case, affected individuals should seek a local lawyer right away.
A primary goal of estate administration is to pay the debts of creditors. A failure to do this prior to the distribution of assets could mean a creditor has the right to pursue a case against the estate and personal representative. Similarly, legatees who do not receive their fair share of estate assets because of impropriety or theft have a personal cause of action against the representative. To alleviate the strain that may come from these situations, both parties should contact a Washington DC probate litigation lawyer to represent them in these actions.
Contact a Washington DC Probate Litigation Attorney Today
The probate process is vital to determine your personal rights to property and your duties under the law. Heirs who might stand to inherit, legatees in wills, creditors, and personal representatives may all need the help of a Washington DC probate litigation lawyer if disputes arise during probate.
A qualified lawyer could provide essential help by explaining the laws that govern probate, gathering evidence concerning a will, evaluating the actions of a personal representative, and working with a court to protect your rights. Reach out today to get started.