Death changes people. Friends and family members who you once thought were kind and reasonable can become wholly unrecognizable beasts if they believe a large sum of money may be coming to them from a looming inheritance. All manner of nefarious conduct can occur: manipulation or pressuring of a terminally ill or mentally incompetent person to change a will or estate plan, submission of fraudulent or invalid wills, misappropriation of estate property by an executor or personal representative, flat-out theft, and much more. Indeed, Mr. Garcia's own family has been involved in a multi-national inheritance dispute in Spain involving allegations of undue influence and "missing" property!
In the face of aggressive wrongdoing--or even if you simply disagree with the interpretation of a will or the distribution of an estate--oftentimes the only way to protect your inheritance is to initiate or participate in a lawsuit in the Probate Court (known as probate litigation). This specialized type of litigation is subject to distinct court rules referred to as the Rules of Probate Procedure and a set of laws known as the Probate Code, but otherwise proceeds largely like an ordinary lawsuit. Each family dynamic is unique; depending on the circumstances, there may also be significant tax implications with the transfer of property which may not be immediately obvious, but which would otherwise be important for you to consider.
If you suspect you may need to be involved in an inheritance dispute, it is important to act fast because too much delay can result in losing your ability to challenge the handling or distribution of assets. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation and concerns.