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November 24, 2016

Understanding Probate and How to Settle Probate Disputes and Disagreements

Greenville SC probate law attorney

Part of the reason that the process of probate is so complex and confusing is because it tends to follow a tragic and emotional circumstance, the loss of a loved one. Further, the executor of the will and/or the beneficiaries likely have very little experience with handling probate, may not know what to expect or what to do; and there may be significant disagreements, which lead to legal disputes. While everyone is grieving and coming to terms with their loss, emotions run high and the probate process can become a real challenge to everyone involved.

That’s why the attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm are here for you. We fully understand what a trying process it is to face probate and get through the difficulties that are associated with the loss of a loved one and the disagreements and disputes that may arise from this.

We are here to help with every element and step of the probate process, including filing the will in the probate court in South Carolina, coming up with a fair and expedient strategy for the estate, locating and gathering up the assets, closing bank accounts, opening bank accounts, transferring assets, paying estate taxes, locating beneficiaries, valuing and managing the estate, preserving or liquidating the estate, and even hiring experts where necessary.

Further, we understand the difficult position of the executor of any will, following the death of a loved one; and we are here to assist with this complicated and emotional situation. We are experienced with working with accountants and financial advisors, dealing with real estate agents and property managers, and obtaining expert opinions on such things as antique assets, collectibles, automobiles, and other assets that may be difficult to accurately value.

Disputes and Disagreements in the Probate Process

It is extremely common for disputes and disagreements to come up in the probate process, even in cases that seem simple and straightforward. Our goal is ensure that family relationships are maintained, that disputes are resolved in a calm atmosphere, and that everyone’s feelings are validated and taken into account throughout the process. While we mediate such disputes and disagreements with respect and consideration for all, we also act assertively to defend the beneficiary rights of our clients in South Carolina’s probate courts.

Common sources of conflict in probate courts that we can helpfully and respectfully address include assertions that the deceased was not capable of making the given decisions, that the deceased made such decisions under undue influence, assertions that there may have been a breach of fiduciary duty, and any concerns of exploitation of the deceased.

Concerns of Exploitation of Elderly Individuals

Regrettably, there are situations where people have exploited the elderly, taking advantage of declining mental health, such as in cases where the deceased suffered from dementia. It is quite common for us to handle cases where it must be proven that someone insinuated themselves into the will of an elderly person, effectively taking assets away from those who are designated as the rightful heirs of that person. It is possible to obtain evidence that this has occurred; and at the Anderson Law Firm,  we know exactly how to handle such situations. If you suspect that someone unlawfully manipulated the deceased into making such changes in their will, then we can take steps to prove this and to invalidate the unrightfully made changes.

Accountability and Responsibility of the Executor of a Will or Representative of the Estate

It is equally important to ensure that the executor of a will or representative of the estate is held accountable and responsible for acting in accordance to the wishes of the deceased. If there is any negligence or deliberate fraud on the part of this person, we can help you to challenge the given concern in probate court. We have dealt with many similar situations, and we know how to help you to ensure accountability and responsibility on the part of the executor of the will or representative of the estate. You don’t have to face these issues alone.

Don’t Hesitate to Hire an Attorney to Ensure Successful Resolution of Disputes

One of the most common mistakes that people make when there are disputes in matters of probate after the loss of a loved one is to attempt to handle these disputes on their own. It is natural to think that the probate court will do everything in their power to ensure that an estate is managed fairly and honestly. Unfortunately, the court is not tasked with investigating disputes and resolving disagreements. They will not seek out the evidence that may be necessary to prove your claim of exploitation or fraud. However, if you hire the attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm to assist with your South Carolina probate dispute, you have the advantage of an experienced expert on your side. Your attorney will be able to make the allegations that you have, investigate those allegations, and provide evidence to the court.

Furthermore, with the guidance of an attorney, you may be able to fairly resolve probate disputes and disagreements in a settlement agreement outside of court. This can go a long way towards preserving family relationships and ensuring that everyone is satisfied with the outcome. Contact our skilled probate law attorneys in Greenville today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.