When someone dies, they leave property and debts that need to be sorted out. The property, which includes valuables, real estate, and money is referred to as the decedent’s estates. If the individual was unable to pay off all their bills prior to their passing, creditors can claim a portion of the estate as their own. If someone feels that the will is invalid or a creditor wants to issue a complaint and try to collect what they say the deceased individuals owed them, a will contest complaint is filed and the matter going into New York City estate litigation.
It’s actually quite rare for an estate to be handled without estate litigation. There are four main reasons that so many estate litigation cases make their way into the New York court system.
These reasons include:
- No one was formally appointed executor of the will
- Someone connected to the deceased feels the will isn’t valid
- A portion of the estate can’t be found
- Creditors have fled a claim against the estate
When someone claims the deceased was indebted to them, they must be able to prove their case. If the debt is deemed valid, the payment comes out of the estate assets.
Contesting wills is the other main issue that sends so many probate cases into estate litigation. These instances are especially common when the deceased drafted a will without the help of an experienced real estate attorney. Not having the attorney’s assistance, there is room for the family members to claim that there were questions about the individual’s mental state at the time when the will was drafted or that they were under duress at the time. More often than not, cases the contest the legitimacy of a will get started because they said the deceased promised them something, such as a valuable piece of heirloom jewelry, but failed to mention this promise in the will and as a result, the piece went to someone else. Each legal jurisdiction has its own rules regarding cases where a will is being contested.
The standard estate litigation routine when a complaint has been filed against the probate, is for the case to be turned over to the court which will arrange a mediation session that’s led by a certified court mediator who’s not connected to the case. It’s the mediator’s job to try and facilitate an agreement between everyone involved. Most probate courts don’t actually require the mediation session, but since it’s been a highly effective tool, most encourage it. If the mediation session is unsuccessful, a hearing is scheduled.
If you find yourself in need of estate litigation, you will need to have legal representation. No matter how tangled the estate litigation case is, we’re ready and willing to provide the necessary legal advice. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can take the proper legal steps and help your resolve the matter in a timely fashion.