From the assets at stake, to relationships between individual family members, every estate dispute is unique. But to successfully challenge an estate, trust, will, or power of attorney in court, you must be able to prove your case in probate court. At Fair Share Lawyers, we investigate every case for common factors that help us determine its potential for success.
When you contact our estate dispute lawyers, we’ll look for evidence of one of the following factors to determine the answer to the age-old question, "do I have a case?"
Lack of Capacity
If your loved one lacked the legal and mental abilities to create or alter a will or trust, you may have the right to file a challenge in probate court. Evidence of a loved one’s lack of capacity can include:
- Lack of understanding of the people who would receive his or her property
- Lack of understanding of what he or she owned at the time of the transaction
- Underlying mental impairments—such as dementia or Alzheimer’s—that impact his or her reasoning or understanding
- Physical impairments that contribute to a reduction in his or her ability to reason or understand
- Interactions from drugs (whether prescription or illicit) or alcohol that would reduce his or her ability to reason or understand
- Severe emotional distress of any type or cause
If your loved one was the victim of undue influence—meaning he or she was coerced, manipulated, or tricked by a dominant party into altering their final wishes—you may be able to challenge his or her will or trust. Conditions that may indicate undue influence include:
- A confidential relationship—or a relationship of trust between your loved one and a person who stands to benefit from a change or transaction
- Abuse of a confidential relationship by obtaining a benefit
- Physical and/or mental deterioration of your loved one
- Active involvement of the dominant party in a transaction, such as hiring an attorney to draft a new will or making changes to life insurance policies
- Secrecy surrounding an asset transaction
- The advanced age of the weaker party
- Lack of independent advice about the impacts and effects of your loved one’s transactions
- Inability of your loved one to read or understand important legal or financial documents
- Unjust or unnatural transactions
- Whether your loved one was emotionally troubled or depressed
- Differences between the transaction and statements that your loved one made to independent witnesses about how he or she wanted assets divided
- Seclusion of your loved one from other family and/or friends
- Fraud and/or duress directed toward your loved one
If we see multiple factors that show either lack of capacity or undue influence, you may have the right to challenge your loved one’s estate or will in probate court.
Get Help With Your Estate Dispute
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Your case consultation and evaluation are always free and confidential. Contact our 24/7 legal team today—just dial (800) 719-2721 or complete our free online form to Demand your Fair Share!