Probate is a legal process that occurs after someone dies. During probate, the courts handle identifying and valuing assets, paying creditors, and filing final taxes. Assets are distributed to heirs and other beneficiaries named in estate documents. Probate happens whether the decedent provided for loved ones or died without a will.

The probate process can be tricky to manage without legal help. Even with a will or assets assigned to trusts, problems may arise. A skilled probate attorney could help with challenges associated with probate in Tustin.

Multiple Wills Complicate Probate

While it is possible to alter or redraft a will without an attorney, it is not advisable. If multiple copies of a person’s will are found after a testator dies and there is no way to tell which version represents their final wishes, probate becomes more complicated.

The issue of multiple wills can be rectified by revoking a will if a new one takes its place. A Tustin attorney could help address the challenges associated with probate.

Executors Cannot Always Fulfill Their Obligations

Circumstances sometimes change for the executors named in a testator’s will. The named person might die before the testator, move away, or change their mind about wrapping up the testator’s estate. Keeping a will up-to-date and naming an alternate executor are two ways to overcome this challenge.

Some executors fail because they do not understand their duties or they are acting to defraud the estate. Some actions an executor might take that breach their fiduciary duty to the estate include:

  • Stealing money or assets from the estate or a trust associated with the estate
  • Failing to adhere to deadlines and regulations
  • Selling assets at far below their valuation
  • Acting in their own interest instead of beneficiaries’

Executors who fail in their duties risk being sued by heirs and beneficiaries. In some cases, criminal charges may be brought. A Tustin attorney could provide more information about executor duties and other issues associated with probate.

Wills Can Be Contested

When heirs have issues with a will, they might contest it. They may claim the will is invalid because the testator was coerced or fell victim to a pushy relative when they were mentally incapacitated. A legal professional could work to gather the necessary evidence to prove the validity of a will.

Valuing and Locating Assets

Most assets are not difficult to value. For example, the money in a banking account is worth exactly what the bank book states, and an automobile can be valued through a dealer or the Kelley Blue Book. Some assets such as artwork and antiques, however, may elicit different valuations depending on the appraiser.

The executor sometimes cannot locate certain assets. If the losses from the missing assets are extreme, the court may invalidate the will. Often, the issue is the testator sold the assets but did not amend the will. A Tustin probate attorney could give advice on what to do when assets are lost or missing.

An Attorney Could Handle Challenges Associated with Probate in Tustin

Probate can be complicated for an executor as well as for beneficiaries. Heirs may dispute what they are inheriting or claim the testator was incapable of executing a will. Assets may be lost or undervalued. An executor might breach their fiduciary duty.

A knowledgeable lawyer could intercede and work to resolve these issues. Contact us today for help facing the challenges associated with probate in Tustin.

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Amity Law Group, LLP

Amity Law Group, LLP