As if the loss of your loved one wasn’t enough, now you are in a dispute with relatives over how the estate should be handled. You have tried to work it out, but you are getting nowhere. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to solve a complicated problem like this is to go to court and let a judge decide.
If your right to inherit has been violated, the estate administrator is making bad decisions, or your actions as an administrator are being challenged, litigation may be your next move. The experienced estate litigators at Scott | Vicknair Law, Estate & Probate Division have handled all types of estate disputes and will help you resolve your dispute as efficiently as possible.
Protecting Your Louisiana Inheritance Rights
Were you left out of a suspiciously revised testament? Is your rightful inheritance being held up by uncooperative relatives? Louisiana’s inheritance laws, in conjunction with the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, determine who will inherit when someone passes away. Protecting your right to inherit is a valid reason for litigation, and our experienced trial attorneys can help. Typical cases we have successfully litigated include the following:
- Challenging the validity of a testament. In Louisiana, there are very specific requirements that must be met in order for a Last Will and Testament to be valid. If the validity of a testament is called into question, it must be reviewed in detail to ensure that it meets all legal requirements. Whether you are challenging a testament or defending one, we can help.
- Enforcing inheritance rights. If no testament exists or an existing testament has been invalidated, Louisiana law will determine who inherits. If there is a dispute among potential heirs about who should get what, it might be necessary to go to court. You will want a lawyer looking out for your interests.
- Forcing the sale of estate property. Sometimes, a house that is left to more than one person is occupied by one of the heirs. In this situation, the occupant must either buy out the other heirs or move out so the property can be sold and the proceeds distributed. If the occupant refuses to leave, legal action might have to be taken to force a sale. This is known as a partition action and is not uncommon.
- Forcing closure of an ongoing estate. When proactive legal action is not being taken, an estate can languish for years without being closed. Until an estate is formally closed, assets and property will not be distributed. Even when another attorney is involved with the estate, we can review the succession record to figure out what the hold-up is and then petition the court for closure.
When it comes to settling and closing an estate, time is very often money. While you may be hesitant to hire an attorney, the sooner you can resolve a dispute over an estate, the sooner you will be able to get your rightful inheritance.
Challenging the Person in Charge of the Estate
Often, the problem with an estate is not the testament itself, but the person who was left in charge. When an executor is overreaching his or her authority or is not fulfilling the duties of the role, heirs who are being negatively affected can take legal action. We have helped clients with the following:
- Stopping the actions of an executor. Under Louisiana law, an executor of an estate serves in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of the heirs of the estate. When the executor attempts to use their power to further their own agenda to the detriment of other heirs, a judge can order that he or she be removed and close the estate.
- Holding an executor accountable for mismanagement. An executor has certain duties to fulfill on behalf of an estate, including maintaining assets for the benefit of the heirs. When an executor fails to do this, a judge can remove them and require they pay for the loss of estate assets caused by their mismanagement.
You may not be sure whether the executor is doing his or her job properly or not, but if you suspect something is not right, get in touch with our estate litigation team to see if we can help you figure it out.
Our Estate Litigation Attorneys Are Here to Help
The estate team at Scott | Vicknair Law, Estate & Probate Division litigates hundreds of cases on behalf of heirs every year, so it is likely we have seen and dealt with the situation you are facing. Let our experience work for you to resolve an estate issue in court. Contact us in our New Orleans office to get started today.