Probate Litigation refers to a legal dispute between an Executor and a Beneficiary during the probate administration process due to various claims and asks the probate court to fix and solve the dispute by challenging the validity of a trust or will.
The probate litigation attorney role is different from an estate planning attorney's role.
When a person passes away in Illinois, there are certain circumstances under which their estate may need to go through probate. During this court-supervised process, the decedent’s assets and property are administered to their beneficiaries. But unfortunately, even when a comprehensive estate plan is in place, probate is not always without conflict. In these cases, it may be necessary to resolve disputes in litigation and require the services of a probate litigation attorney.
Probate litigation can have a significant impact on you and your family. Attorney Matthew R. Hess understands how emotionally overwhelming it can be to not only lose a loved one — but also to contest their will or fight to uphold their wishes while you’re grieving. When you are represented by Mr. Hess, you can rest assured that you will have counsel by your side with the knowledge and acumen to secure the best possible results in your case.
When is Probate Required in Illinois?
Probate refers to the process of validating a decedent’s will and distributing their assets to their chosen beneficiaries. In cases where an individual died without a will, their property will be passed to their heirs in accordance with the Illinois intestate law. However, the probate process isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Not only can the emotions of family members run high, but there are often complicated legal issues that arise.
While most estates are subject to probate, it is not always required under Illinois law. Specifically, it is necessary in cases in which the total value of the decedent’s estate exceeds $100,000 and the assets are solely in their name — or the decedent possessed real estate that was not jointly owned. Generally, assets that do not go through probate include those that are contained in a trust. Life insurance and accounts with beneficiary designations are also typically excluded from probate.
Regardless of whether probate is necessary in your case, having skilled counsel by your side is essential. A probate attorney can provide you with crucial insight regarding the legal process and help to ensure no mistakes are made during property distribution. They can also protect your interests in the event someone raises a challenge to your loved one’s will or contests the distributions of a trust.
Skillful Representation Helping You Navigate the Complexities of Probate Litigation
The probate process doesn’t always go smoothly. While every estate is different and has unique issues that must be settled, some can only be resolved with litigation. For instance, you might feel you were wrongfully excluded from your loved one’s will or have reason to believe the decedent executed the document under duress. In other cases, an executor might have failed to adhere to their fiduciary duties, or a trustee may need to be held accountable for mishandling funds.
Hess Law Firm assists clients with litigating a wide variety of issues that can arise during the probate process, including the following:
- Challenging the validity of a will
- Contesting the appointment of a personal representative
- Disputing accountings
- Removal of fiduciaries
- Guardianship litigation matters
- Asset recovery
- Heirship disputes
- Breach of fiduciary duty issues
- Theft, mismanagement, and improper withdrawal of funds
Probate litigation is not the same as other types of civil actions. These matters are governed by the Illinois Probate Act — there are strict statutes of limitation and specific rules that apply. It’s crucial to have the representation of an attorney who understands the nuances associated with contested probate claims to obtain the most favorable results. Mr. Hess has extensive experience handling a wide variety of probate litigation matters and is dedicated to offering compassionate counsel as he helps his clients navigate the complexities of the process.
Adept Appellate Advocacy for Probate Matters
Attorney Matthew R. Hess devotes his practice to representing those who find themselves in the middle of trusts and estates disputes. He knows how stressful the court process can be after the loss of a loved one and strives to ease the burden his clients face. Not only has Mr. Hess earned a well-deserved reputation in the legal field for his ability to command the courtroom, but he is also proficient in advocating for the interests of his clients at the appellate level.
Throughout the probate litigation process, the trial judge will issue a number of orders prior to making a final determination in the case. Sometimes, these interlocutory orders can involve injunctions, or the judge may issue decisions on claims made against the parties. While not all orders issued by the court are appealable, some are. For instance, final judgments that resolve all claims made against each party can be appealed — as well as specific types of partial final judgments.
Arguing an appeal is very different from litigating a case at trial — it requires precision, acumen, and a specific set of skills. Mr. Hess knows how to identify the vital issues in a probate matter to help ensure a successful appeal in even the most complicated cases. Matthew is familiar with estate planning, wills, and trusts and is experienced in trial law. He will help you in trust and probate litigation cases, determining if there has been a breach of fiduciary duty and ensuring you get the best result.
Contact a Knowledgeable Illinois Probate Litigation Attorney
If you are facing probate litigation, it’s critical to have reliable legal representation. Located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Hess Law Firm offers counsel for a wide variety of probate matters to clients throughout the Northwest suburbs and Chicago area. We welcome you to call (847) 367-6990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today to schedule an appointment.