Probate Litigation Attorneys Pittsburgh
Attorneys help those who contest wills or fight those challenges
While probating a will and administering an estate can take much time and effort, the process usually goes unchallenged. However, occasionally the process is interrupted by someone named in the will or omitted from the will who makes a claim to contest the will or the administration of the estate. An experienced Fingeret Law probate litigation attorney can assist you, whether you are the proponent or a contestant desiring to challenge the will.
Types of will challenges
There are several bases on which to contest a will or challenge the administration of an estate, including:
- The will is invalid because the decedent’s signature is forged.
- The will is invalid because the decedent was not of sound mind when he or she signed the will.
- The decedent was under duress or undue influence of another when the will was signed.
- The will submitted for probate had been revoked by a later will written by the decedent.
- The executor is unfit to administer the estate due to incompetency or other reason.
How we help you contest a will
The first action an executor must take is to file the decedent’s original will in the office of the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death. At that stage of processing, we can prepare a written objection (known as a caveat) to the will and file it with the Register of Wills. The processing of the will is then placed on hold while a hearing is scheduled with the Register.
Our lawyer represents you at the hearing and presents your objections. The Register has full authority to adjudicate the case at that point. If you prevail, the Register will decline to probate the will. The decedent’s estate may then be treated in different ways — a prior will may be probated or the estate may be treated as an intestacy (as if the decedent died without a will).
If the Register of Wills decides that the will should be probated, then the probate process will commence. However, a disinherited party is still able to challenge the document at the next level — the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The lawyers at Fingeret Law will file an appeal with the court and the contest will then continue.
Typically, a contestant has one year to initiate a challenge to the probated will. However, a contestant who waits too long does so at his or her peril, as estate assets may have been dissipated or distributed in the meantime, leaving nothing to recover.
Contact a Fingeret Law trial attorney today
To discuss your specific needs and to find out how one of our attorneys can assist you with probate litigation in Pittsburgh, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online. We have served the Greater Pittsburgh community for more than 40 years in the practice areas of elder law, medical assistance planning, estate planning, wills, special needs trusts and guardianships. We travel to clients.