Hiring an estate planning attorney in Dallas, Texas to get your affairs in order is always a good thing, but even the best plan can sometimes result in litigation. Whether you have to file a lawsuit or are being sued by someone else, estate litigation can result from almost any situation. Though there are a lot of specifics about how estate litigation in Dallas Texas begins and what kinds of issues you might face, here are some of the most common estate planning topics that can result in lawsuits.
Challenging a Will
Some of the most famous estate planning litigation cases arise because a wealthy or famous person has died leaving behind a sizable estate. The recent case of Huguette Clark is a prime example of this. When a wealthy person dies and leaves behind a last will and testament, that will can often be divisive, especially if it leaves out family members who planned on receiving an inheritance.
Will challenges are also fairly common when a wealthy person writes a will when he or she is in declining health. In general, only people who receive an inheritance through a will, or who would have received an inheritance through a prior will or in the event there was no will at all, can begin will challenge litigation.
When a child is left without parents, or an adult becomes incapacitated, estate litigation can arise if not everyone agrees who should become the guardian of that person. Guardianship challenges are very common in families that have strong disagreements about who should care for the child or incapacitated adult. Though these challenges can be avoided by creating the proper estate planning documents, this type of situation often leads to litigation.
Estate plans use a number of tools that rely on fiduciaries to act in the best interests of someone else. When fiduciaries, such as a trustee or an attorney-in-fact, misuse or abuse their positions, these actions can often lead to litigation.
For example, if you create an irrevocable trust and name your sibling as trustee, you might begin litigation if you believe the sibling is not acting in accordance with the terms you establish when you created the trust.
In other situations, for example, your children, family members, or others who stand to inherit from you might challenge the person you appoint as executor if that person mismanages your estate.
Whether you believe beginning the litigation process is appropriate, or you are involved in some kind of lawsuit, you need to talk to an estate planning attorney right away. There are specific timelines and requirements involved in any type of lawsuit, and only an experienced attorney in your area can give you advice about what your legal options are.