When a loved one’s estate is probated in Ohio, you expect everything to go smoothly. You assume that since your loved one had a will, their wishes should be honored, and there shouldn’t be any reason to worry about something going wrong. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When a lawsuit, claim, contest, dispute, or conflict arises during the probate process, you need a legal team on your side that will fight to protect your rights and your loved one’s wishes.
Common Reasons for Probate Litigation in Ohio
There are a variety of reasons an estate could wind up in litigation. Whether you are the one contesting a will or filing a claim, or you are disputing someone else’s claim or lawsuit, you need an experienced probate litigator on your side. The team at Littlejohn Law has litigated many different situations. Some of the more common scenarios include the following.
Contesting an Estate
If someone believes that a will, trust, or other estate planning document is not valid, they can contest it in court. Grounds for contesting a will include the following:
- Incapacity. The person contesting the will might believe that the will-maker (known legally as the testator) was not in their right mind when they made the will. They would have to prove this by calling experts such as doctors and psychiatrists to testify in court.
- Undue influence. A will can also be contested on the grounds that someone exerted undue influence over the testator to get them to write their will a certain way. Undue influence could include bribery, threats, coercion, or simply repeated suggestions. It would have to be shown in court that the testator was vulnerable, the accused had an opportunity to exert influence, and that the accused benefited from the will.
- Fraud or forgery. If someone believes that the will or other documents were forged, they will have to prove it in court in order to contest the will.
Whether you are contesting a will or defending the legitimacy of a will, our team can build a case to support you.
Breach of Fiduciary Responsibility Claim
Estate executors and administrators are legally bound to act on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. If you believe that an executor has breached that duty, you can go to court to hold them accountable and have them removed from their duties. You can also seek damages caused by the fiduciary’s actions through litigation. Examples of breaches of duty include:
- Failing to take a full accounting of estate assets
- Mismanaging property or funds
- Acting in their own self-interest
- Ignoring deadlines and required court actions
If you have issues with the representative for your loved one’s estate, you might need to take legal action to protect estate assets.
If a testator has young children, a will should name guardians to care for them upon the testator’s death. If there are problems with an appointed guardian, or if the person died without a will or without naming guardians in the will, the court will step in to appoint a guardian. If you want to be a guardian or want to contest the naming of another guardian, this will require litigation. Our legal team can support your claim in court.
Any Other Legal Issue
There are additional reasons that aspects of an estate might need to be litigated. If you think something is amiss with a loved one’s estate—a family member comes out of the woodwork, a will doesn’t match what you believe your loved one would have wanted, or divorces and subsequent marriages have complicated family dynamics—reach out to Littlejohn Law to discuss the situation.
Schedule a Consultation Today
We invite you to browse our website for more information about probate litigation at Littlejohn Law LLC. We offer free books, guides, and videos that may answer your questions and let you know what we can do for you before your consultation. Call today at 740.346.2899 or fill out the form on this page to see what our firm can do for you.