Estate Litigation

Will contests and other fights over property after a family member has died can be one of the messiest situations that can cause strife and grievances between family members. Sadly when a person becomes seriously ill, friends, family, or just those greedy people who see an opportunity will seek to take advantage of the situation.

Even when substantial probate planning has taken place before a family member’s death, conflicts can still arise. A last moment disinheritance or substantial change in the distribution of assets can raise questions as to whether the decedent was competent to make changes to their will, or if a caretaker pressured them into the change.

Because these questions usually arise after the death of your loved one, it is impossible to go back and ask them exactly what happened and why they made that change to their will. Tensions in these cases invariably run high, as it is almost always a family conflict over money—which are two things that should never mix.

These reasons are why you need an experienced probate litigation attorney to investigate the claim and help you determine your rights and what you are entitled to recover through the probate process.

The legal team at Melrose Law has experience handling cases involving:

Undue Influence:

The Defendant isolates the individual from friends and family who are unable to protect himher from a perpetrator who uses unlawful tactics to cause a rewriting of the Last Will which often then disinherits children and loved ones. These Last Will can be challenged in a Caveat Proceeding, and the Last Will can be thrown out by the Court.

Lack of Capacity:

The author of the Last Will may not have been mentally competent to make important financial decisions such as signing a Last Will. These can be voided by the Courts. 

Breach of Fiduciary Duty:

Often the holder of a Power of Attorney will seek to transfer assets into their own name when they are supposed to only be acting in the best interest of ill person.

Fraud:

Various tactics can be exposed where property and assets are transferred unknowingly from a sickened or mentally infirm person. These transfers of real and personal property can be voided, and the property can be returned to the rightful owner.

Melrose Law handles many of these cases on a contingency basis, so if no assets are recovered from the Estate on behalf of the client, then the client will not owe Melrose Law an attorney’s fee. Each situation is different, and we are happy to discuss appropriate options based upon the scope of the work involved.

These cases can be extraordinarily complex, and without the help of an experienced estate law litigation attorney, it is unlikely that a layperson would be able to persuade a Judge to dismiss a Last Will, or otherwise successfully navigate the complicated probate litigation process. We will also try our hardest to help control the family stress and tensions that arise, to allow you and your family time to process your family member’s death. Please call 828- 452-3141 for more information.

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$3.025 Million settlement by Mark R. Melrose and co-counsel in a medical malpractice case for 40 year old man who suffered a devastating stroke after his surgeon failed to diagnose the cause of his bowel infarction. The doctor failed to read the echocardiogram which had clear evidence of a blood clot. This clot then broke apart and caused the stroke.

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