Estate Litigation

What happens in Kentucky if an estate is not as simple as it looks when the paperwork is first filed with the Probate Court, which in Kentucky is the District Court? Ky. Rev. Stat. § 394.140. What if an inexperienced executor has to handle complex issues like a dispute or conflict that brings up additional court hearings and stages?

Even when an estate plan or a will exists, it can be very hard for beneficiaries and family members to understand how this impacts them. Regardless of whether you’ve been named as an heir or an executor, you need an experienced Kentucky estate litigation lawyer to guide you through the process and help you when you believe that there are grounds for disputes.

Understanding Probate

In Kentucky as in many other states, probate is a legal process that is used to ensure that the assets of the decedent’s estate are used to pay any debts and distributed as the person intended. Probate allows for court supervision to ensure that these issues are resolved promptly. Unfortunately, however, as soon as estate litigation occurs this can significantly slow down the process of probating a will or distributing these assets. In these circumstances, a Kentucky estate litigation lawyer can guide you and your family members to the process that you can avoid costly mistakes.

Estate and trust litigation can also draw down the assets inside an estate since funds and executor’s time will need to be spent defending these claims. While tools like a will and a trust are intended to make clear the deceased’s wishes, if these documents are erroneous or ambiguous this can lead to disputed will or will contest claims. There are many different types of probate disputes and you should be knowledgeable about your standing in these types of cases as well as the benefits of having an estate litigation attorney in Kentucky to guide you through and to help protect your inheritance if you are a beneficiary. You will want to work with a probate litigation lawyer in Kentucky who has initiated or defended many will contests or other probate disputes.

The most common estate litigation causes include claims of undue influence or fraud, wills that were never properly witnessed, signed or submitted, breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of a trustee or an executor, claims against the estate filed by creditors, misappropriated or missing assets, lack of testamentary capacity and renunciation of interests. Probate litigation will often involve disputes between named beneficiaries of an estate who are also likely to be related to one another, which means that you need sensitive solutions created and suggested by an experienced estate litigation attorney serving Kentucky. It can be very difficult to contemplate litigation against another member of the family, particularly if other parties believe that the currently submitted documents are accurate.

Another common cause of these probate cases has to do with breach of fiduciary duty allegations. The personal representative or trustee appointed to administer a loved one’s estate has a strong moral and legal duty to handle the assets of the estate in an appropriate manner and to ensure that they keep all beneficiaries informed throughout this process. Breach of fiduciary duty litigation might be necessary in cases in which a trustee or a personal representative has been accused of wrongdoing by a beneficiary of the estate.

Executors and trustees are not allowed to engage in self-dealing, meaning that they take actions to benefit themselves rather than the beneficiaries. Being shepherded through the probate process, providing plaintiff or defense representation in disputes with family and dealing with creditor claims are all complex aspects of Kentucky probate litigation.

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