Serving the Legal Needs of Northern Virginia Since 1978

Virginia Estate Litigation Attorneys

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Estate Litigation Attorneys in Northern Virginia

Estate litigation is a reality in today’s litigious world. The failure of people to properly prepare their wills and trusts, or the failure to properly administer an estate, is a breeding ground for litigation. And, even the best-prepared legal documents can wind up in the Virginia court system. When this happens, you’re going to need an experienced estate litigator in your corner. The partners at Hale Ball believe that our experience as trial lawyers in the Virginia court system gives us a distinct advantage in settling and litigating estate claims.

Estate Litigation – During probate—the name given to the legal process of administering an estate—it’s not unusual to have one or more items contested. Probate battles can be emotionally painful and financially costly. Before entering one, it’s beneficial to sit down with an estate litigation attorney and determine whether it’s worth it to pursue your claim in the Virginia probate courts. Oftentimes, the parties can come to a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, our trial attorneys are prepared to aggressively represent your rights throughout the litigation process.

Will Contests – One of the most common types of claims in the litigation of estates is the contesting, of the deceased’s Last Will and Testament. Naturally, there are two sides to these battles. One party makes a claim against the executor’s interpretation of the will, and the other party must defend against that claim (if he or she chooses to do so). We have extensive experience in on both sides of litigation involving will contests.

Undue Influence – Virginia law recognizes that a testator’s weakened physical or mental state might provide the opportunity for an unscrupulous individual to try to affect the testator’s decisions about his or her will. This is referred to as undue influence. To successfully prove undue influence, the petitioner must show what that the testator was weak of mind when he executed the will, that the person accused of exerting undue influence had established a confidential relationship with the testator, and finally, that the testator had previously discussed a different intention with regard to the estate. Of course, slighted heirs may make a false claim of undue influence to try to obtain a greater portion of the estate. We have extensive experience prosecuting and defending such actions.

Fiduciary Misconduct – This occurs when the person who has been put in charge of administering a will or trust fails to live up to his or her legal obligations or performs them in a manner that is counter to the intent of the testator. Fiduciary misconduct can occur with trusts

(Trustee Misconduct) or wills . We have extensive experience in handling fiduciary misconduct cases.

Trust Contest – Like a will contest, this is the challenge to provisions of the trust by an interested party.

Surcharge and Falsify – This is a probate term used to describe a type of contestation where a petitioner makes claims against a will or trust after it’s filed with the Commissioner of Accounts. Invalid claims should be opposed. And, your failure to properly prosecute your claim may result in it being disallowed. We regularly handle surcharge and falsify actions.

Aid and Direction – In Virginia probate and trust law, there are times when the trustee or executor seeks the advice of the courts for answers. For instance, if he or she believes that the law is unclear or unsettled via case law, the estate lawyer could seek “aid and direction” from the courts. If you are an executor, administrator or trustee, you should consult with competent legal counsel if there is any question as to whether your actions are allowed by law.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty – A fiduciary can be removed if his or her performance is inadequate or fails to live up to one or more of his or her legal responsibilities. This can trigger the court to remove the fiduciary or force him or her to correct the breach. Much of the estate litigation involves whether an executor, administrator or trustee has breached his or her fiduciary duties to the heirs and beneficiaries.

Estate litigation is a very specific field of Virginia law. Having an experienced estate litigation trial lawyer on your side—whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant—can be invaluable. Kimberley Murphey, the head of the estate litigation division of Hale Ball handles estate litigation clients from all over Virginia. Please go to Kimberly A. Murphey for a partial list of her extensive experience.

Contact Hale Ball, for More Information

To make an appointment with a Virginia estate litigation attorney, contact our Fairfax, VA office at Call 703-962-1164 or send us an e-mail today.

 

 

 

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