The Jensen Litigation Firm, PLLC represents entities and individuals in probate and estate disputes. People hire us to figure out if they have rights under a will or an estate with no will, and to enforce those rights. If you are a beneficiary, personal representative, or creditor with an estate dispute, we can help. Contact us now to preserve your rights.
What are the basics of a probate?
If the person left real estate or probate assets, then the estate will likely need to be probated under Minn. Stat. § 524.3-101, et seq. A personal representative is appointed by the court to take control of the estate and distribute assets with court approval. The personal representative must follow the terms of any will, probate statute, and court orders.
What are Will contests or challenges?
While probates are often uncontested, there is a wide range of potential disputes. If there is a will, a threshold issue is whether it is valid. If the person signed the will under duress, coercion, incapacity, or was significantly mistaken about aspects of the plan, then a beneficiary may have grounds to challenge the will. The beneficiary needs strong supporting evidence, including medical evidence.
Generally, wills are challenged because a person is omitted from distribution or receives a lesser share than other beneficiaries. If the will is invalidated, then the court will have to determine if any other will applies. If not, the court may apply default probate rules as if there was no will.
What are some other common probate disputes?
Beneficiaries, personal representatives, and creditors may be involved in disputes involving:
- Mistakes or ambiguities in a Will that require court interpretation.
- Heir disputes involving omitted spouses, omitted children, adopted children, extended family, and unknown relatives requiring DNA testing.
- Removal of the personal representative under Minn. Stat. § 524.3-611 and other statutes.
- Questions about the decedent's ownership of assets, including land and businesses.
- Creditor claims made under Minn. Stat. § 524.3-801, et seq.
- Compensation claims made by relatives for caring for the decedent before death.
Regardless of the dispute, it is important to understand your rights and assert them during the case. If you do not raise your issue, you likely cannot reopen the probate.
Why is it important to hire an attorney for an estate dispute?
Estate disputes often involve technical legal issues and deadlines, which an attorney can help you understand. Also, if you want to preserve family relationships, it can be helpful to have an attorney make arguments rather than you making them directly to your relatives.
We have the knowledge and experience to handle estate disputes. We take our role seriously and carefully develop a strategy with you. Do not hesitate to contact us if:
- You are the personal representative and are experiencing problems with a probate.
- You are a beneficiary and there are problems with the personal representative or other beneficiaries.
- You have been omitted from a will and believe you still may be entitled to a distribution.
- You are a creditor seeking payment out of a probate estate.
- You have a general dispute related to a probate or an estate.