Probate & Estate Litigation
It is not uncommon for disputes to arise during probate proceedings and the legal administration of an estate. In some cases, enlisting an elder law attorney may be necessary to protect your interests, as well as the intentions of the decedent. With 20 years of legal experience, Indianapolis probate and estate litigation lawyer Michael J. Adler can vigorously advocate for your rights. At Adler Law LLC, we recognize that disputes over an estate can involve sensitive and confidential matters.Overview of Probate and Estate Litigation in Indiana
Estate administration is the legal process through which the financial affairs of the decedent are settled. In general, the process involves the payment of debts and the distribution of property to devisees or heirs. In Indiana, will contests, estate disputes, and other challenges are heard in probate court. There are several potential issues that often cause disputes. For example, if an individual dies intestate (without a will) that person’s property will be divided according to Indiana’s law of intestacy. Litigation may then be necessary to determine the rightful beneficiaries of the estate as provided by law.
If a decedent did execute a will, interested parties may challenge its validity. In Indiana, a will must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will. The testator must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. If these requirements are not met, the will’s validity may be at issue. A probate and estate litigation attorney can advocate for Indianapolis residents in this situation. Will contests also frequently involve the mental capacity of the testator at the time the will was executed. They may include allegations that the testator was incapacitated or incompetent, or unduly influenced by a family member or other individual. The basic purpose of these claims is to prove that the will does not signify the testator’s true intentions.
Interested parties and creditors may also file claims against the estate for debts or other payments. If the executor (known as the personal representative in Indiana) does not approve the claim, these parties may then petition the court to determine the matter, which may result in additional litigation. There may also be liability considerations for the personal representative. Since a personal representative is deemed the fiduciary of the decedent, he or she has a duty to properly administer the estate solely for its beneficiaries. A personal representative may be held liable with the assistance of an Indianapolis probate and estate litigation attorney for a breach of the fiduciary duties of good faith, honesty, or loyalty. In addition, disputes may arise if the personal representative is negligent in the administration of the estate or fails to perform required duties, such as timely filing inventory, accounts, or tax returns.Consult a Probate and Estate Litigation Attorney
If you are involved in contentious probate proceedings, seeking representation from a dedicated estate planning attorney may be beneficial in protecting your interests and determining your legal options. At Adler Law LLC, we have the resources and knowledge to advise you, no matter how complicated your situation may be. Indianapolis lawyer Michael J. Adler can assist people in a wide range of estate and elder law issues. Mr. Adler provides legal guidance to individuals throughout Boone, Marion, Hamilton, Johnson, and Vigo Counties, including in Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville, Greenwood, Carmel, and Fishers. Contact Adler Law by phone at (317) 635-7880 or online to set up a consultation with a probate and estate litigation lawyer in the Indianapolis area.