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Tampa Business Litigation Attorneys / Tampa Estate Litigation Attorney

Tampa Estate Litigation Attorney

When a Florida resident or person who owns real estate in the state passes away, probate proceedings will begin to settle their estate. The probate process can be relatively straightforward and without disputes, or it can become litigious when conflicts arise between fiduciaries, beneficiaries, creditors, and possibly disinherited loved ones. Below, our Tampa estate litigation attorney explains the most common issues that arise, and how to resolve them.

Will Contests

One of the most common issues to arise during the probate process are will contests. A will contest refers to when a person challenges a will in its entirety, or certain parts of a will. The most common issues to arise are as follows:

  • Lack of mental capacity: To execute a will properly, a person must have the mental capacity, or understanding, of the nature of the property to be distributed, the individuals who would have substantial benefit under the will, and knowledge of how the will was executed.
  • Undue influence: When a person drafted or signed a will under the duress or coercion of another person, it is known as undue influence. Anyone with an interest in the estate can challenge a will if they believe undue influence was involved.
  • Improper execution: If a will does not meet state requirements, including the written requirement and appropriate signatures, people with an interest in the estate can contest the will.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Personal representatives are individuals named in an estate plan or appointed by the court to administer an estate. Personal representatives owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries as well as any creditors. Estate litigation is necessary when a personal representative has mismanaged an estate. Disputes can arise if a personal representative acts in self-interest, fails to properly account for assets in the estate, overly compensates themselves, or when they do not protect the assets of the estate responsibly.

Creditor Disputes

When a person passes away, creditors and expenses of the estate are paid before the remaining property is distributed among the beneficiaries. Creditors are notified that probate has opened and they can then make a claim against the estate for the debt the decedent owed. There are many rules pertaining to creditor claims. For example, a creditor has only two years in Florida to file a claim against an estate. Beneficiaries and others with an interest in an estate can dispute these claims if the debt is not valid or the creditor did not follow proper procedure.

Our Estate Litigation Attorney in Tampa Can Help with Disputes

Probate can be an expensive and time-consuming process, particularly if disputes arise. Whether you are defending a dispute or need to make a challenge of your own, our Tampa estate litigation attorney at BBDG Law can help. We have the necessary experience to resolve the most common disputes that arise, and will put our expertise to work for you, too. Call us now at (813) 221-3759 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get more information.