ESTATE AND PROBATE LITIGATION

Beneficiaries of an estate may believe that an executor/administrator of an estate (i) is not providing them with a sufficient amount of information regarding estate assets; (ii) is failing to distribute estate assets on a timely basis; (iii) is improperly using estate assets; or (iv) is otherwise taking improper actions as executor/administrator.

We can help protect a beneficiary’s rights and, if necessary, initiate litigation against an executor/administrator. We also will defend executors/administrators of an estate against claims brought against them by beneficiaries.

practice-1
WILL CONTESTS

A person may die with a will, but that will may have been executed at a time when the person (i) suffered from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other medical condition that resulted in him/her not having “testamentary capacity” when the will was executed; (ii) was improperly influenced by another individual; or (iii) executed the will as a result of fraud. Also, the will may not have been executed pursuant to the requirements of the Texas Probate Code or may have been forged. Often times, these situations arise when a person executes a will shortly before his/her death that alters an estate plan that had been in place for many years, and the new will disinherits certain family members or leaves the person’s estate to a non-family member.

We regularly advise clients about the prospects of filing a will contest and, ultimately, will file such a contest if the circumstances warrant. We also represent individuals in defending against will contests.

practice-2
TRUST LITIGATION

Beneficiaries of a trust may believe that a trustee (i) is not being forthcoming about the management of the trust’s assets, (ii) is failing to make distributions to them from the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms, (iii) is improperly favoring one beneficiary of a trust over another, (iv) is improperly using trust assets for his/her own needs, or (v) is otherwise taking improper actions as trustee.

We can help protect a beneficiary’s rights under the trust and, if necessary, initiate litigation against a trustee. We regularly demand accounting of trustees. In addition, we represent trustees in litigation brought against them by beneficiaries. We also can assist a trustee or a beneficiary in efforts to modify or terminate a trust pursuant to the Texas Trust Code or the trust instrument.

practice-3
GUARDIANSHIPS

A parent or other loved one, including a minor child who is about to become an adult, may suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or another mental condition that makes that person unable to take care of his/her own physical health or manage his/her financial affairs. In such a condition, this individual is particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others, and they may need to be protected by the appointment of a guardian.

We regularly advise clients as to whether a guardianship is appropriate. If a guardianship is determined to be necessary, we will assist clients through all aspects of the guardianship proceeding.

practice-4
PROBATE OF WILLS AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

An individual may pass away with a will. For that will to have any effect, it must be “admitted to probate.” This means that the will must be filed in court, and a hearing must be held to prove that the will was properly executed, that it is in fact the decedent’s will, and that it was never revoked.

We can assist a client with the filing of the appropriate documents to have the will “admitted to probate.” If the client also is the named executor of the estate, we can assist the client with the administration of the estate including, but not limited to, gathering estate assets, the filing of the necessary inventory of estate assets, dealing with creditors of the estate, and distributing estate assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

practice-5
HEIRSHIP PROCEEDINGS

Sometimes, a decedent passes away without a will. In this scenario, in order to determine the rightful heirs of a decedent’s estate, an application for determination of heirship often will need to be filed.

We can assist a client with the filing of all documents necessary for a court to make a judicial determination regarding the appropriate heirs of a decedent. If necessary, we can assist a client with the appointment of an administrator of the decedent’s estate who will have the authority to take possession of the decedent’s bank accounts and other assets, deal with creditors, and distribute decedent’s assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

practice-6