A contested probate is a probate in which someone challenges the distribution of estate assets or the appointment of a personal representative of the estate. There are many variables to contested probate matters. Someone may falsify documents with the intent to prevent other heirs from inheriting all or part of an estate; someone may challenge a will stating that it is not accurate or that certain heirs were left out; someone may allege that documents such as a will or trust were destroyed or seem to have disappeared. No matter what the particulars of the contested matter, an Attorney needs to get a firm understanding of the value of the estate and then validate the legal documents such as a will or trust, if these documents exist. At times expert witnesses are called upon to validate the documents. Verification of heirs also has to be investigated so that only verifiable heirs are part of the estate division.
Not all attorneys who handle probate matters also handle contested probate matters. In an uncontested probate matter, the client can expect to pay for the attorney fees at the close of the probate. However, in a contested probate matter, the attorney fees are based on an hourly fee and a retainer if the client is the contesting party. Sometimes, in a contested matter, depending on the value of the estate and the strength of the case, an attorney may opt for payment once the estate closes. Legal Action Workshop does not handle contested probates. However, due to the complexities of contested probates, it may be best to give us a call to determine if, in fact, the case is contested.