Experienced Southern California Probate & Trust Litigation Attorneys

The death of a loved one is always a painful occurrence. Unfortunately, that pain is too often compounded by problems in the estate that cause disputes among heirs and beneficiaries. If you suspect that a will or its execution does not reflect the wishes of the deceased, you have a right to challenge the proceedings in probate court. Gifford, Dearing & Abernathy, LLP has represented aggrieved parties in probate cases for more than 60 years. The firm is ready to assist you in inheritance controversies arising from:

  • Lack of capacity
  • Undue influence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty

Preventing exploitation of the elderly
Many probate disputes stem from suspicions that a particular individual took advantage of the declining health or dementia of the deceased to insinuate himself into the will to the detriment of the rightful heirs. The firm’s attorneys are familiar with such cases and know exactly what kind of evidence is necessary to make a showing of undue influence or lack of capacity. If a caretaker or family member manipulated an unfair change in the will, that change can be invalidated.

Demanding accountability and fairness
The individual chosen to be the personal representative of the estate or to hold power of attorney has a fiduciary duty to dispatch his obligations professionally and in accordance with the wishes of the testator. Any deliberate fraud or negligence in accounting for assets can be challenged in probate. The firm’s probate and trust litigation attorneys have vast experience dealing with estate issues and can form a quick and accurate appraisal of whether these matters are being handled competently and honestly.

Don’t expect success if you handle objections yourself
Many beneficiaries hesitate to hire an attorney because they trust the probate court to do what is fair or wish to keep a family dispute within the family. However, there are things you should consider before attempting to handle a probate issue yourself. The court is not an investigative body. Just because you bring up an issue does not mean the judge is obligated to search for supporting evidence. You can present allegations, but without the firm basis a professional attorney can provide, your suspicions may receive little consideration. Moreover, a seasoned attorney who has been through probate negotiations before is likely to produce a settlement that satisfies all parties and allows the proceedings to move forward at less cost to the estate.

Contact an established probate & trust litigation law firm
Don’t add to your emotional loss by losing out on your loved one’s legacy. Call Gifford, Dearing & Abernathy, LLP today at 213-626-4481 or contact the firm online to schedule a free consultation with a reliable probate and trust litigation attorney.