Losing a loved one is among the most difficult events we face in life and the pain can be exacerbated by a legal battle over the deceased’s estate. We understand this at Simmonds Law and we do everything we can to make an estate challenge as easy as possible for all parties so they can deal with their grief without having to worry about legalities.
Estate litigation is any legal proceeding involving a deceased person’s estate. The litigation can be initiated by trustees representing the deceased’s estate or by people who want to file a claim against an estate.
Regardless of whether you are representing an estate or you wish to file a claim against an estate, the lawyers at Simmonds Law can help you through this trying time. We recognize that regardless of the scenario, estate litigation is a difficult time for all parties involved and we deal with such matters sensitively and professionally.
Below are some of the different kinds of estate litigation where Simmonds Law can help you, including:
- Will challenges
- Passing of accounts
- Unjust enrichment
- Undue influence
- Estate trustee during litigation
You can challenge a person’s will or an amendment to a person’s will (called a codicil) if it does not represent the true intentions of the person who signed the will (known as the testator). If any of the following can be proven, the will can be set aside for litigation:
- The testator did not have the mental capacity necessary to create a will.
- The testator was coerced by a third party in some way while making this will.
- The will is not real, but is a fraudulent document.
- The will was not legally executed or witnessed properly.
- The testator did not know or approve of the will’s contents or a specific provision of the will.
If a will or codicil of a will has been signed under suspicious circumstances, the law requires proof from the people who are seeking to uphold the will that it reflects the actual wishes of the testator.
Simmonds Law can help you launch a challenge to a will or help you defend against challenges to wills.
Passing of Accounts
A passing of accounts is basically like a court ordered audit of someone’s accounts. In the case of estates, the person going through the audit when passing of accounts occurs is usually:
- An estate trustee or executor.
- An attorney for property for an incapable person (aka a POA).
- Trustee of a trust.
- Guardian of property.
The application for passing of accounts may be initiated by an estate trustee or it may be initiated by a beneficiary of the estate or another person with standing to challenge the accounts.
Simmonds Law can help either estate trustees or estate beneficiaries with passing of accounts. We help trustees understand their responsibilities and fulfil their duties, prepare accounts for court passing, respond to objections and represent them in court if called upon. We also help estate beneficiaries hold trustees accountable for their execution of estate assets.