Protecting Your Rights In A Probate Dispute
When a loved one dies, emotions can flare and conflicts may arise, even among family members. Those conflicts may center around how to administer the decedent’s estate in the probate process. If you find yourself in the midst of a probate conflict, you need your own legal advocate to protect your rights.
Our attorney at Bingham Legal Group PC, Lauren M. Underwood, has over 20 years of legal experience and understands the disputes that arise during the probate process. She will work to find a resolution to the conflict, but if that is not possible, Ms. Underwood is a skilled litigator, ready to take your case to trial. There are two main groups of disagreements in probate. One type involves alleged problems with the will itself, and the other type involves the actions of the personal representative.
Is There A Problem With The Will?
In order to be valid under Michigan law, a will must meet certain criteria. Heirs and beneficiaries may argue over aspects of the will or claim that the entire document is invalid. Disputes may include:
- Will interpretation – If a certain section of the will is ambiguous in any way, people may argue about the testator’s intentions.
- Undue influence and lack of capacity – When a family member or other interested person alleges that an individual coerced, pressured or committed fraud against the testator to influence the content of the will, disputes can arise. Likewise, if the testator was not of sound mind at the time they signed the will, it could be invalid.
- Omitted spouse or child – Generally, a testator can choose to whom they leave their assets, but in certain cases, spouses and children may have a claim to assets, even if the will excludes them.
- Invalid will – If the will fails to meet legal requirements, the judge may delete certain provisions or declare the entire will invalid. That may mean using a prior will or probating the estate as intestate, or without a will.
In addition, if the decedent passed away without a will, heirs and other family members may argue about the proper way to administer the estate. Problems may arise if the personal representative cannot locate certain heirs or questions come up regarding unknown heirs.
Disputes Over The Personal Representative’s Actions
The personal representative has certain legal duties as the administrator of the estate. Certain interested parties may argue over who should fill that position. In addition, if an interested person feels that the appointed personal representative is not properly fulfilling that role, they may ask the court to remove the personal representative and appoint someone else. Whether you are acting as the personal representative or someone with concerns about the personal representative, we will fight to protect your rights.