Florida Probate, Estate and Trust Litigation Lawyers with offices in Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and Port St. Lucie
Probate and estate litigation are highly complex legal matters. Whether you are bringing a lawsuit against an estate or defending an estate, you can count on The Karp Law Firm to vigorously represent you. We handle will contests, probate litigation and trust litigation.
Before proceeding with a lawsuit, our attorneys will carefully analyze the facts, and advise potential plaintiffs of the various benefits and risks, and whether it is prudent to proceed. We will also advise those defending an estate of the appropriate steps to be taken.
Some common scenarios giving rise to estate litigation are:
- When someone in a second marriage passes away, children from the prior marriage may take issue with how the parent's funds are being distributed, or how the estate is being handled. Florida law provides a surviving spouse with certain rights, including the elective share right to 30% of the decedent's probatable assets, and the right to a life estate in the decedent's homestead property or a one-half ownership in the property. Only a valid pre- or post-nuptial agreement can waive those rights. But even with the most careful estate planning by the decedent, children from prior marriages and spouses from second marriages often lock legal horns over how funds are being distributed or how the estate is being handled.
- When the trustee is not honoring his/her obligations. Trust beneficiaries have certain rights. The trustee has a fiduciary obligation to honor those rights. For example, beneficiaries are entitled to regular accountings and to receive distributions in a timely manner and in accordance with the terms of the trust. Beneficiaries who believe the trustee has breached his/her duties may seek a remedy through the courts.
- If a will can be shown to be invalid. There are many reasons a will may be considered invalid. The most common reasons include that the will-maker (the "testator") lacked "testamentary capacity" to execute a will; was subjected to coercion or duress; was defrauded (for example, told what he/she was signing was not a will but was something else); and if the will is not properly executed as required by Florida law. The fact that the testator may have cognitive issues often gives rise to lawsuits; however, the fact that a testator has dementia or cognitive issues does not automatically invalidate a will, since even such persons may still have testamentary capacity and/or lucid periods when he/she may be competent.
Whether you are interested in challenging an estate, or required to defend one, contact The Karp Law Firm. We will sit down with you and gather all the facts. We will then advise you about what we believe to be your best course of action, and whether we can assist you.
Contact The Karp Law Firm at 561-625-1100 in Palm Beach Gardens; 561-752-4550 in Boynton Beach; 772-343-8411 in Port St. Lucie; or toll free, 800-893-9911. You can also email us at KLF@KARPLAW.COM.