While you do not need to hire an estate litigation attorney to file or resolve a probate contest, a Louisiana succession lawyer could help you preserve an estate’s solvency and ensure that challenges yield a fair outcome.
Deciding Whether You Need a Louisiana Estate Litigation Attorney
Every state, Louisiana included, maintains an open judiciary. Under most circumstances, you do not need a lawyer to initiate probate, file a lawsuit, or represent yourself in court. However, litigating a high-stakes claim can present unexpected challenges. Unless you’re well-versed in Louisiana law, any mistake—no matter how minor—could compromise your case, forcing the court to dismiss your claim without giving it the consideration it deserves.
Before making a decision, ask yourself the following questions:
Do You Have Legal Standing to Initiate a Lawsuit or Defend Against a Challenge?
Louisiana law limits who can—and who cannot—file an estate-related lawsuit. In general, only interested parties can initiate a claim. An interested party could include the estate representative, an heir, or even a creditor.
However, in estate claims, it is not uncommon for the defense attorney to challenge an interested party’s standing. In some cases, they may even try to convince the court that you are misinterpreting or misunderstanding the testator’s original intent.
Do You Have the Evidence Needed to Prevail?
Louisiana succession claims are often contingent on the availability and quality of evidence. The evidence you need is dependent on the nature of the contest. If, for example, you suspect the decedent’s last will and testament has been forged or altered, you may need to search for an original copy or hire a qualified handwriting expert to assess the signature.
Do You Have the Time Needed to Litigate a Succession Claim?
A lawsuit can take weeks, months, or even years to resolve, depending on it is complexity and the other party’s willingness to negotiate. You may be required to appear in court regularly. If you live in another state or parish, traveling to hearings could interfere with your work schedule and ordinary routine.
How to Choose the Right Estate Litigation Attorney
Since litigating a Louisiana succession claim takes time and an intensive understanding of state law, most executors, heirs, and creditors hire an attorney to advocate on their behalf. However, choosing the right lawyer can be a challenge.
What to Look for
- Client reviews. Probate litigation attorneys who have an established record of success will usually highlight their achievements. Read their client reviews, paying particular attention to cases similar to your own.
- Informational materials. You may be able to learn more about your attorney and your claim before scheduling a consultation. For instance, we provide prospective clients with an assortment of free informational material, which covers topics ranging from asset transfers to probate procedures.
- Attorney profiles. Every practicing lawyer has the same fundamental training: they went to college, attended law school, and successfully passed the state bar. However, some attorneys have backgrounds better suited to certain types of litigation. If your lawyer does not regularly practice succession law or has only litigated a handful of probate claims, they may not be your best choice.
Contact an Experienced Louisiana Succession Attorney Today
Scott Vicknair Law has spent years protecting Louisianans’ rights to legacy. If you are considering filing a succession claim, please call us at 504-264-1057 to speak to an attorney, and schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible.