Estate disputes are regrettably common. Even simple estates can face unexpected threats, especially when heirs disagree with the terms of a will or their anticipated inheritance. Many of these disagreements can be resolved cordially, without the need for litigation or a court-ordered intervention.
For those estate disputes where a peaceful resolution failed, estate contests can escalate, and the costs of a long, drawn-out lawsuit can place an estate’s solvency at risk. However, beneficiaries who fail to protect their legal interest can lose their right to a fair inheritance. The right legal representation can guide beneficiaries through these difficult decisions and help achieve an equitable and financially-sound result.
The Role of an Estate Litigation Lawyer in Probate Contests
An estate litigation lawyer is a licensed attorney who has experience initiating probate contests and defending estates from challenges. During an estate contest, an attorney could help the executor, known as the "personal representative" in Florida, or heir:
- File pleadings and other court documents properly and in accordance with Florida law
- Collect evidence of fraud, duress, or undue influence
- Contact expert witnesses to analyze handwriting samples or assess the decedent’s testamentary capacity
- Manage assets that have been placed in a trust or escrow
- Advocate for an heir, beneficiary, personal representative, or even the estate’s interests in mediation, arbitration, or trial
Probate and estate litigation attorneys often help personal representatives in other ways. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, a lawyer could explain and resolve tax-related concerns or proactively protect assets from anticipated challenges.
Choosing the Right Florida Estate Litigation Attorney for Your Claim
A Florida estate litigation attorney can make the difference between receiving a fair inheritance and forfeiting your rights to a Sunshine State court. However, choosing the right lawyer for your claim can prove challenging. While every attorney has the same basic qualifications, not every legal professional has the experience to resolve a high-stakes lawsuit.
Before making a big commitment, you should always do your due diligence by:
Reading Client Testimonials
An experienced estate litigation lawyer will have a proven track record of success. If your friends and family cannot recommend a competent attorney, check whether potential firms showcase client testimonials.
While testimonials are almost always curated, they provide an opportunity to learn how an attorney has helped others in similar situations.
Reviewing Information Relevant to Your Claim
You do not have to be a legal professional to begin preparing for a probate claim. Before contacting a lawyer, review their website and look for links to relevant information.
DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, PA, regularly publish litigation-specific content in the form of:
- Library articles
- Blog posts
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Easy-to-understand informational videos
Our firm believes that every Floridian should have the knowledge needed to understand Florida state law, whether they need an attorney or simply wish to learn more about the Sunshine State’s probate-related laws and processes.
Scheduling a Free Consultation
Most people know they stand a better chance of securing a favorable settlement if they hire an attorney. Unfortunately, the popular—but mistaken—misconception that high-quality legal representation always comes at an unaffordable cost deters many Floridians from taking their first step toward initiating a probate contest or launching an aggressive defense.
However, many estate litigation firms do not require any immediate or up-front payment. DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, PA, encourages prospective clients to schedule a free consultation before making a decision.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to:
- Meet your lawyer
- Discuss the details of your case
- Explain the evidence you have to support your claim or contradict an impending challenge
- Explore the potential outcomes of an estate contest
- Ask questions about the probate litigation process
Every estate contest is different, and no attorney can guarantee a favorable outcome. However, DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, PA, has a proven record of success. Since 1976, we have helped countless Floridians resolve complicated estate disputes, often without the need to take claims all the way to trial.