Like relationships, real estate properties require a legal hand to ensure complete security and validation of a property. This has raised the scope and value of purchasing a legally sound property. 

When discussing estates' lawful processing, most people tend to restrict their thoughts till the legal registration of a home property. But when you wake up to the realities of the real estate litigation world, you see a myriad of legal services and processes expanding the importance of following legal procedures for each property type. 

If you are clueless about the legal processes, let's get started with the basics and find out what estate litigation is. 

Estate Litigation - Meaning and Challenges Faced 

Generally, estate litigation is referred to as the legal process initiated to resolve any estate-related matters. It involves the estate matters of an individual who has passed away and had not assigned any property rights holder before demise. One of the biggest challenges in such scenarios is drafting a will. Here, the Will is used for declaring it void or varied. 

In most cases, the Will is considered void when the will-maker (the one who passed away) was not in the right mental state at the time of demise. Remember, you may need valid evidence to prove the same. If not this, the other reason why the Will is declared as void is when the beneficiary exerted undue influence over the demised individual. 

Estate litigation cases face another major challenge as others interfere in the estate's ownership before the on-papers owner's demise. Usually, this claim type includes the elderly individuals to get the estate's ownership. 

What is the overall cost of estate litigation for an individual?

Like all sorts of litigation processes, estate litigation is not inexpensive. In case your case goes for trial, you may require to pay something more than what you expected earlier. But what saves you from the expected expenses is an experienced estate attorney having ample experience in dealing with the different kinds of estate-related dispute handling. There are times when a professional estate lawyer can help you get out of the legal mess right before the case trial begins. And this ends up saving a lot of money for you. 

Who is to pay for the estate litigation proceedings?

No wonder the legal processes demand a certain amount of money involving court fees, documentation charges, and attorney's service charges. As there are many parties and people involved in the estate litigation process, a common ambiguity is who will pay for the legal process initiated. In the cases of Estate Laws, Wills, and Probates, the person who initiated the legal proceedings needs to take care of the expenses throughout the resolution process. The chances of facing overly expensive legal charges are possible only when your case has reached the trial state. Otherwise, one needs to pay some nominal court and documentation fees. 

The defendants require to hire a professional estate attorney to deal with the disputes between the two parties while representing your case vigorously in the eye of the law. Additionally, any legal charges that the estate incurs are supposed to be paid out of the assets themselves. 

What are the most common alternatives to estate litigation proceedings?

Generally, a legal dispute over a property involving the assets of a deceased individual encompasses legal processes. In most cases, the experienced estate attorneys use the estate litigation process to resolve the case by offering valid negotiation on the property. This is the most effective way to close the case without wasting the court's valuable time.

Does Estate litigation require to go for a trial?

This depends on the court's resolution of the case. The court declares a decision on the raised issue, deciding if the case will go on trial. The process of estate litigation begins right after one of the parties file a document in the court as a notice of civil claim. It proves more effective if one decides to file this with the help of an estate attorney. There are many steps to be followed, from filing the documents in court to undergo the trial process. As per the experienced attorneys, one must keep trial as the last option as it involves a lot of legal proceedings while it may burn a hole in your pocket too. That's the reason most people believe in winding up the estate litigation process before it reaches its trial stage. 

What are the most common causes of action in estate litigation processes?

The litigation process requires expert handling to quickly wind up the process without bothering the court and parties involved. This calls for segregating the process among different estate litigation actions which include - 

  1. Undue influence - It is when the testator is compelled or coerced to initiate the processing of a will by a friend, relative, health care provider, trusted advisor, an ancestor, etc. While you do it all, make sure to remember that a long-term estate plan may get disturbed with undue 'influencers.' 
  1. Insufficient capacity - As per the law, the testator must have good mental competency to craft and sign the last Will in front of trusted advisors or immediate family members. This requires understanding the nature of the estate and to whom it belongs. A will can be declared void anytime if the other party proves that the deceased person was not mentally eligible to sign the Will. 
  2. Elective share - Many states provide an elective share to the surviving spouse, which depends on the statutory formula. The court may decide on some deadlines associated with the elective share process. 

Bottom line

Estate litigation acts as the foundation of any legal proceedings for a property. It encompasses the basic to advanced-level legal processes that require an estate attorney's involvement right from the first stage. Once the estate litigation process begins, it may result in different consequences depending on the case and requirement types.