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Tampa Business Litigation Attorneys / Tampa Probate Litigation Attorney

Tampa Probate Litigation Attorney

Probate is a court-supervised process that administers a person’s estate after they pass away. There are many steps in the probate process, including proving the will, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and formally appointing guardians for minor children. Unfortunately, disputes can arise during the probate process and these can result in additional lawsuits that must be resolved. This can add to the expense of probate and cause delays in the process. Below, our Tampa probate litigation attorney outlines the most common disputes that arise.

Invalidity of a Will

One of the first steps in the probate process is to prove, or validate, the will. A person may contest the validity of the will for many reasons. They may argue that the will was improperly executed, or that the decedent was under undue influence when they drafted or signed the will. The argument of undue influence alleges that a third party coerced or manipulated the decedent into writing, changing, or signing their will. A person may also contest a will if they believe the decedent lacked the legal capacity to draft the document. Improper construction and execution of the will can also give one grounds to contest the document.

Locating Heirs

In cases when a decedent did not have a lot of contact with family and they have not left a will behind, the court may have to locate heirs. If a child comes forward but they are not acknowledged, the court will also have to prove maternity or paternity to determine if the individual has a claim to the estate.

Elective Share Litigation

Surviving spouses of people who lived in Florida prior to their death also have the right to an elective share, even if their spouse did not include them in their will. Generally speaking, as long as there is not a premarital or postnuptial agreement in place, surviving spouses have a right to an elective share of 30 percent of the estate.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Personal representatives, trustees, and others who help administer the estate or distribute assets have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries. When individuals with a fiduciary duty waste or mismanage assets, charge excessive fees, or otherwise improperly administer an estate, it can result in probate litigation to resolve the issue. Individuals who have breached their fiduciary duty can be removed, or a surcharge action can be filed so anyone harmed can be compensated for their losses.

Our Probate Litigation Attorney in Tampa Can Help You Through the Process

When any dispute arises during probate, it can make the process even lengthier and more expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways to resolve these issues. At BBDG Law, our Tampa probate litigation attorney can help you negotiate a settlement or represent you in court to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. Call us today at (813) 221-3759 or fill out our online form to request a consultation with our experienced attorney and to learn more about how we can help with your case.