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. The Law Office of Ira M. Kopito has represented aggrieved parties in these types of cases since 1999. I am 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. I am 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 and should be challenged in probate. I have years of experience dealing with estate matters and can form a quick and accurate appraisal of whether 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 me today
Don’t add to your emotional loss by losing out on your loved one’s legacy. Call my office today at 718-834-9200 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.