Virginia Beach Trust and Estate Litigation Lawyer

When you become involved in estate litigation, it will be stressful because it almost always involves family members. People can make claims regarding an estate for many reasons, from executors who breach their fiduciary duty, to heirs that exert undue influence over an elderly, or a confused person who changes their will. Often, family members take sides, leaving an estrangement long after litigation or settlement.

Whether you are defending a claim made against you as an heir or executor, or you believe you should instigate one, our estate planning attorneys offer you the unique advantage of litigation experience, as well as a thorough knowledge of estate laws and experience drafting and interpreting the various documents necessary for estate planning. When problems with a will arise, and they cannot be settled among family members, contact a Virginia Beach estate litigation lawyer.

Contested Wills

People contest wills through a court process called impeachment. The person seeking impeachment has the burden of proving why a will is incorrect. This can be as simple as showing the will was not executed correctly because not enough witnesses signed it. Other grounds are more nefarious. Wills can be forged, or the testator could have been coerced to leave a larger share of assets to an unintended person. An attorney in Virginia Beach can help with a contested will during the estate litigation process.

Undue Influence

Along with coercion in which someone pressures a testator, testators who suffer from diminished minds can be victims of undue influence.

Testators must have testamentary capacity to execute a will, which means they must recognize their family members, know what they own, and confirm the document they are signing accurately reflects who will get what after they die.

The courts might accept the presumption of undue influence when the testator has been diagnosed with dementia and an executor or prospective heir finagles a larger inheritance or an advantage that the testator had previously dismissed. For example, an adult child beneficiary drafts the will for the testator and makes advantageous gifts the testator did not authorize. An estate litigation attorney in Virginia Beach can ensure undue influence does not affect a will.

Spendthrift Trusts

Often, beneficiaries of spendthrift trusts challenge them. Testators set up these trusts for heirs they believe would deplete the assets quickly. These could be children with substance abuse problems or a spouse who has proven they cannot manage money well.

Heirs do not control the assets. A trustee, such as a licensed attorney, distributes them like an allowance and can make direct payments for tuition, mortgages, and other loans. Heirs subject to spendthrift trusts are often anxious to get their hands on what they know is set aside for them, so they challenge these trusts or prevail upon the trustee for more.

Although these trusts are generally exempt from creditors, sometimes there will be a challenge by an ex-spouse for alimony or child support. Any legal challenge to a spendthrift trust should be handled by an estate litigation attorney in Virginia Beach.

A Virginia Beach Estate Litigation Attorney Protects a Testator’s Wishes

The point of probate is to ensure asset distribution happens as the deceased person intended. However, disputes often arise between family members at this stressful time. Some heirs may believe they deserve more. Some may believe the will is fraudulent. Some may want to challenge a trust, including spendthrift trusts, when they are antsy to get their hands on the money. Trustees and executors can also prove less than honorable and may need to face litigation.

It is important that you choose a lawyer to settle disputes who understands the estate planning and probate process and can lend their litigation skills when settlements break down and lawsuits are necessary. Our Virginia Beach estate litigation lawyers can do both. Contact Parks Zeigler, PLLC, to discuss your concerns.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
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200 N. Water Street,
Suite 2A

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
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