Chicago Area Contested Estate Lawyers
Attorneys for Probate Litigation and Contested Trusts in Illinois
Following a person’s death, their assets should be distributed to their beneficiaries according to their wishes. This is typically done during the probate process by the person named as the executor or personal representative of the estate, although assets held in a trust will be managed and distributed by a trustee. If a person’s beneficiaries or other interested parties believe that a will is not valid, or if they have reason to believe that the person’s wishes have not been followed correctly, probate litigation may be necessary, or other types of legal action may be taken to address a contested estate.
The attorneys of the Gierach Law Firm have more than 30 years of legal experience, and we have worked with clients to address a wide variety of issues related to estate planning, estate administration, and contested estates. If you believe that your loved one’s wishes are not being followed, or if you need to defend against a claim involving a contested estate, we can provide you with representation to help you resolve these issues.
Contesting Wills and Estates
In many cases, probate litigation will involve claims that a person’s will is invalid. These claims must be brought by an interested party who is affected by the will, such as beneficiaries, family members or other heirs who have been disinherited, or creditors. Questions about the validity of a will typically involve one of the following claims:
- Lack of testamentary capacity – To create a will, a person must be of sound mind, and they must fully understand the nature and extent of their assets and the decisions they are making about how these assets should be distributed to their heirs. A party may claim that the person did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were signing or make decisions about the disposition of their estate at the time that the person signed their will.
- Undue influence – In some cases, a person who stood to benefit may have exerted influence over a person and coerced them into creating or signing a will that went against their actual wishes. If a will was prepared by a person who had a “fiduciary relationship” with the deceased, and that person was named as a beneficiary in the will, this may be a sign that the person exerted undue influence.
- Forgery or fraud – A will may be found to be invalid if it can be shown that the person’s signature was forged, that it was altered after it was signed, or that the person was misled into signing documents that did not properly reflect their actual wishes.
Cases involving contested estates may also address claims that a person’s wishes were not followed correctly when distributing their assets to their beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may take legal action if an executor or personal representative did not perform a complete inventory of the person’s property or if they failed to notify the person’s heirs or provide a complete accounting of how assets were distributed. In some cases, creditors may pursue probate litigation to recover debts owed by a deceased person. Beneficiaries of a trust may also take legal action if they believe that a trustee has mismanaged the assets in the trust or has not distributed the assets properly.
Contact Our DuPage County Probate Litigation Lawyers
If you believe your loved one’s will is invalid, if you need to address concerns about how a person’s assets were distributed, or if you need to defend against claims involving a contested will or estate, the Gierach Law Firm, LLC can help you understand your legal options. We will provide you with representation and make sure you take the right steps to resolve these matters effectively. Contact us to schedule a consultation today by calling our Naperville office at 630-756-1160 or our Hoffman Estates office at 847-519-0505.