Comprehensive estate planning can minimize inheritance disputes or conflicts over estate administration. But a poorly designed or executed estate plan, or worse, the absence of planning altogether sometimes results in conflict and litigation.
The experienced trust and estate litigation attorneys at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel can help you navigate any difficulties related to will and trust execution or estate administration. Call the Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel law firm from anywhere in Central Virginia at 434-589-2958 and from Powhatan at 804-598-1304 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Estate Litigation?
Estate litigation closely relates to probate litigation, but there is one key difference between the terms. Probate litigation deals with assets and documents that pass through probate in Virginia, like wills. Estate litigation can also include non-probate assets, like trust property, which may include a significant portion of the decedent’s estate.
Estate litigation may address:
- Will and trust contests
- Contested claims by a spouse who was omitted from the will, or by children of a former marriage against a surviving spouse
- Fraud and undue influence claims
- Allegations of fiduciary misconduct against trustees or will executors
- Guardianship and conservatorship disputes
Not all estate litigation actions end in trial. A settlement is usually quicker and more affordable than pursuing a trial. An estate litigation attorney may leverage their legal knowledge to settle estate disputes before they reach the courtroom.
In Virginia, estate litigation typically passes through a local circuit court, although federal courts may become involved in some rare and complicated cases.
Common Reasons for Estate Litigation in Virginia
Virginians may pursue or defend against estate litigation for a variety of reasons. Common examples include:
- Challenging a trust or will on grounds like mental incapacity, forgery, or undue influence
- Defending estate assets against creditor claims
- Acting against a trustee or will executor who allegedly breached their fiduciary duty by misappropriating assets or violating trust or will terms
- Fiduciary litigation for or against an agent or trustee or guardian is also sometimes thought of as “estate litigation.”
Do You Need an Estate Litigation Attorney?
Estate litigation often involves high financial stakes, like significant sums of money or real estate property. Hiring an estate litigation lawyer is especially important with complex and high-net-worth estates.
At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we take pride in resolving even the most complicated legal conflicts in trust and estate administration. We will:
- Assess your case and suggest the optimal legal strategy to achieve your goals
- Examine wills, trusts, and other estate planning documentation for compliance with Virginia law
- Investigate allegations of misconduct, fraud, or duty violations
- Prepare and file all necessary court documents
- Negotiate with the other party on your behalf
- Represent you at trial if your case goes to court
Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel: Trust, Probate, and Estate Litigation Attorneys in Central Virginia
When estate administration runs into difficulties, Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel is here to help you resolve conflict, protect your interests, and minimize legal complications. Our experienced legal team handles all estate litigation matters, from challenging wills and trusts to addressing breaches of fiduciary duty.
Call the Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel law firm from anywhere in Central Virginia at 434-589-2958 and from Powhatan at 804-598-1304 to schedule a free consultation.