What happens if you think that closing out your parent’s or other family member’s estate will be easy, but someone else is concerned about issues that occur in relation to the will or probate process? Some disputes can derail and otherwise smooth probate process, and if you’re impacted, you deserve to know what this means for you and other heirs. Note that the Kansas rules related to the estate administration process are found in KS Stat § 59-2201.
Are you concerned about reaching a Kansas estate litigation lawyer because you believe that a claim against an estate has already been filed? Or perhaps you need the support because a loved one has already filed a probate dispute and you are concerned about how this might impact your ability to receive assets named in the will or in other parts of the estate planning.
Will and trust challenges are some of the most common forms of estate litigation in Kansas. As an Kansas estate litigation lawyer can advise you, these all relate to legal disputes over a decedent’s testamentary documents. Sometimes these litigated controversies are necessary to ensure that estate property is allocated as the decedent intended but they can also cause lasting rifts and arguments between family members while also depleting the estate’s assets since the executor of the estate will now have to get involved in the estate litigation. This makes it even more important to retain a reputable and experienced estate litigation attorney serving Kansas who is thoroughly informed about issues of probate litigation.
Common Causes of Estate Litigation in Kansas
Will contests are some of the most common types of estate litigation. Flawed execution is one such example. Kansas law mandates that a will needs to be in writing and signed both by the testator plus two witnesses. KS Stat § 59-606. If the testator is not able to sign on their own, a party who is not one of the witnesses can sign in the testator’s names. Any violations of these rules could lead to an invalidated will in the future. Another common cause is undue influence in which a person who had inappropriate involvement in the crafting of the will convinces a testator to write an entirely new document or make amendments. Other common issues that can lead to probate litigation concerns are issues of incapacity, misrepresentation and fraud, forgery and coercion. Kansas courts can invalidate a will either in part or in whole. If only a portion of that will is invalidated by the court, the impacted assets will pass according to Kansas’s inheritance or intestate laws. If the entire will is invalidated by the court, however, the whole estate becomes subject to inheritance laws.
Fiduciary Duty Breach Litigation
Another common cause for estate litigation in Kansas has to do with when the administrator of an estate or the trustee of a trust has acted improperly and has violated their good faith responsibilities to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can start breach of fiduciary duty actions and examples of questionable performance concerns include self-serving investments, imprudent investments, misappropriating assets owned by the estate, embezzlement directly from the trust funds, failing to keep proper records or provide an accounting to estate beneficiaries or refusing to disburse assets.
Any of these contested matters, such as trust modification, will contest, will and trust construction suits, guardianship concerns, breach of fiduciary duty, trust termination, or creditor and debtor issues are all advanced concerns that should only be handled by a Kansas estate litigation attorney in Kansas. Going forward without the advice of legal counsel can expose you and other impacted beneficiaries to unnecessary mistakes that can prove costly both for your personal relationships and for the volume of assets inside the estate.