Grand Rapids Estate Litigation Lawyers

Legal Guidance for Complex Estate Disputes

Estate administration can be a complicated and emotional process. With various parties involved and affected by how an estate is settled, disputes may likely arise that need to be resolved through litigation. That means the matter will be taken to court and the facts presented to a judge who will decide how the case resolves. Because these are sensitive issues with strict deadlines, it is necessary to retain legal representation for help presenting your case and seeking an outcome to protect your rights and best interests.

Willis Law appreciates the delicate nature of estate disputes, which is why we handle these cases with care and precision. When you turn to our Grand Rapids estate litigation attorneys, we will listen to your side of the story, gain a thorough understanding of the facts, and develop a comprehensive strategy for your case. Our team seeks effective and efficient solutions for these matters and will initially attempt to resolve your case through mediation or negotiation. Still, we are prepared to go to trial to work toward obtaining the best possible result on your behalf.

Our firm represents beneficiaries, trustees, and fiduciaries involved in estate disputes. Schedule a consultation with our Grand Rapids estate litigation attorneys by calling (888) 461-7744 or submitting an online contact form.

What Is Estate Litigation?

After a person passes, their estate must go through probate to ensure that debts are paid and assets are appropriately distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. Although the decedent may have had a will or trust and legal processes must be followed, disagreements may arise about how property/assets are to be divided and whether the fiduciary followed proper protocol.

Individuals involved in these disputes may try to settle them amongst themselves. However, some cases may be so complex that they require legal recourse. When an estate dispute goes to court and must be presented in front of a judge, that is referred to as estate litigation. The parties must make their claims, providing facts and evidence to support their assertion. The judge listens to both sides and determines how the matter should be settled.

At Willis Law, our team has extensive legal experience and provides quality representation to parties involved in estate litigation. We thoroughly research and prepare and know how to develop compelling strategies to present in court.

Providing Counsel for a Range of Estate Issues

Estate administration involves several steps. If the decedent had a will, the court would first validate it before a personal representative or fiduciary can move forward with administration. The estate must be opened, debts must be paid, assets must be divided, and the estate must then be closed.

At any part of the process, from will validation (if the decedent had one) to closing the estate, a dispute may arise.

Our estate litigation lawyers in Grand Rapids deliver representation for disputes involving: 

  • Will contests: Beneficiaries and heirs may challenge the contents of a will. To do so, they must file a petition with the probate court, providing legal reasons they believe the will is invalid. Typically, the person who contests the will must prove their assertions in court.
  • Breaches of fiduciary duty: Those appointed to administer an estate owe a duty of care and loyalty to the beneficiaries and other interested parties. If they fail to act in a way a reasonable person with similar duties would have, those affected may take legal action against the individual.
  • Improper execution: A will must have been appropriately executed for it to be considered valid. That means the testator developed it freely and voluntarily and signed it according to state law. If these conditions aren’t met, interested parties may have grounds to contest the will.
  • Fee disputes: Fiduciaries can charge for their services. However, if their fee was unreasonable, an interested party can dispute it.
  • Undue influence: Beneficiaries and heirs may challenge the validity of a will by asserting that it was established through undue influence. In other words, they charge that an individual used force or coercion to cause their loved one to make asset distributions in a way that goes against their actual wishes and favors the influencer.
  • Estate taxes and other tax liabilities: The personal representative must pay all estate taxes fully and timely. Failure to do so can result in legal action being taken against them.
  • Fraud and misconduct: A will contest alleging fraud or misconduct can arise in a couple of ways. An interested party might claim that some other person used deceit to trick the testator into signing the will. They might also assert that the personal representative embezzled estate funds, stole property, or engaged in other types of wrongdoing.

At Willis Law, our Grand Rapids estate litigation attorneys will review every aspect of your situation to determine an appropriate course of action. We are here to guide you through the complex estate litigation process whether you are asserting wrongdoing has occurred or have been accused of being involved in misconduct.

Speak with Our Team in Grand Rapids About Your Estate Litigation Matter

Our Grand Rapids estate litigation lawyers are well-versed in the laws concerning estate planning and administration. We work to protect the rights of those involved in disputes and seek favorable outcomes.

Discuss your case with our Grand Rapids estate litigation attorneys by contacting us at (888) 461-7744.


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