Probate, Will & Trust Litigation Attorney
I have represented individuals and their families in numerous Probate Court disputes in counties across South Carolina. Unfortunately, family and other personal conflicts often disrupt the probate process. Perhaps there is a problem with the personal representative (executor) of the estate, and a substitution is warranted. Perhaps there is a dispute over the terms of the will, or a belief that someone unduly influenced or coerced the deceased into changing his or her will before death.
Not only do these matters involve significant emotional and financial issues, but also they can involve complex legal issues. Having an experienced probate court lawyer to represent you can make a great difference. Call or email me at RHB Law Firm, LLC if you need help with legal matters related to your loved one’s probate estate in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester Counties.
Contrary to a fairly common belief, the government does not automatically take your property if you die without a Will. South Carolina has laws on what is called intestate succession, which determine how a person’s estate is distributed if he or she dies without a Will. The law assigns percentages of the estate to certain beneficiaries depending on what class of relative they are to the deceased (parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and so forth).
Sometimes, problems arise when family members are forced to share a piece of inherited property and cannot agree on how to divide it. One child may want to keep the parents’ home in the family, while another child may want to sell the home and split the cash proceeds. Such disputes often require litigation in the probate court, the circuit court, or, sometimes, both courts.
If you have a probate law issue, call or email me at RHB Law Firm, LLC and we will discuss possible solutions. This is probably a difficult time for you and your family, so let me help guide you through the process.
It is not uncommon for potential heirs to an estate to challenge the validity of a Will. Parents and grandparents with dementia or other mental illness are often victims of coercion or undue influence, and unknowingly draft or modify their Will to the detriment of one of their heirs. On the other hand, many times the elder family member knew exactly what they were doing, and allegations of fraud, undue influence, or coercion are completely unfounded. Perhaps a family member wants to receive an inheritance that was never intended for them, and is making allegations in an effort to squeeze out a settlement.
Wills, trusts, and property distribution can be challenged on various grounds, including:
- Lack of capacity to make a Will (often dementia or other mental illness)
- Undue or fraudulent influence of the person making the Will
- Improper execution of the Will
- Vague, unclear, or ambiguous provisions in the Will
- Omission of a spouse without proper language in the Will
If you believe there has been foul play, or even just a mistake, in the execution of a Will or Trust document that has resulted in the unfair distribution of your loved one’s estate, call or email me at RHB Law Firm, LLC and we will discuss how to fully investigate and pursue the matter in court.