Probate Law and Representation
Choosing the right person to manage the probate law affairs related to your will, trust or other aspect of an estate plan is very important. Whether that person is a trusted relative, friend or professional hired for the task, he or she must be competent, trustworthy and accountable.
A good executor, trustee or other administrator can ensure that the wishes memorialized in your planning documents are carried out as written and according to your wishes. However, an administrator who lacks honesty or ability can cause harm to you, your family and any legacy you wish to pass on.
At the Inland Empire Law Center, our experienced probate/estate planning attorneys understand the responsibilities that executors, personal representatives and administrators who are empowered to make estate-related decisions must live up to, and the ways in which they can falter.
As a result, we provide competent legal counsel to our clients to help them choose the right people to manage their affairs. Further, we advise such individuals in carrying out their duties, in accordance with the law.
Our attorneys can assist your executors, administrators and personal representatives in probate proceedings whether your loved one died with or without a will. We can also be retained to assist in estate inventories, resolving debt payments, filing estate taxes, selling estate property, and distributing assets.
A petition filed with the court is often necessary to determine how and to whom the assets of an estate should be distributed, including identification of heirs or beneficiaries, how to interpret the will and characterizing assets as belonging to the estate. We can represent your interests in probate court, whether or not a will or other planning documents were completed prior to a loved one’s death or incapacity.
In cases in which fraud or other wrongdoing is alleged, we can utilize private investigators, forensic accountants and other experts to assist in establishing the factual support necessary to strengthen your case, whether you are a beneficiary or heir. We are especially sensitive to matters in which the financial abuse of an elder is alleged.
If a will is challenged, we can assist in making the following determinations:
- Did the decedent have the mental capacity to execute a will?
- Did another party unduly influence the drafting of the will?
- Were any of the estate planning documents forged or created under duress?
- Were all creditors paid in the settling of the estate?
- Were all assets properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries?
- Did the executor properly value the assets of the estate?
If there are concerns that a will was not properly executed or the individual lacked capacity, we can work with you to determine whether the instrument is valid. If your loved one created a will, we can work within the probate system to make sure the terms of the will and the decedent’s intentions are correctly followed.