When issues arise with a will or estate, those issues may be decided in probate court. A probate lawyer, also known as an estate lawyer or an estate litigation attorney, specializes in handling legal matters related to the administration of a deceased person's estate. Here's what to know about the role of a probate lawyer in courtroom litigation:
Probate lawyers represent clients involved in disputes related to the distribution of assets, the validity of wills or trusts, guardianship or conservatorship matters, claims against the estate, breach of fiduciary duty, or allegations of undue influence or fraud.
In many cases, probate lawyers aim to resolve disputes through mediation or settlement negotiations, seeking a mutually agreeable resolution without going to trial. They advocate for their client's interests, provide legal advice, and negotiate on their behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.
Case Evaluation and Strategy
Probate lawyers review the facts of the case, relevant legal documents, and applicable laws to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their client's positions. Based on the evaluation, probate lawyers develop a litigation strategy tailored to their client's objectives. They outline the steps, procedures, and legal arguments necessary to present a strong case in court.
Probate lawyers draft legal documents required for courtroom litigation, such as complaints, answers, motions, and briefs. These documents outline the legal arguments, present evidence, and provide a framework for presenting the case.
They present oral arguments before the court, using their knowledge of the law and the case's facts to advocate for their clients' positions. They may present witnesses, cross-examine opposing witnesses, and introduce evidence to support their case. Probate lawyers actively object to improper evidence or procedural irregularities raised by opposing counsel. They also defend their clients against objections and challenges made by the opposing party.
Legal Research and Analysis
Probate lawyers conduct legal research to analyze relevant case law, statutes, and legal precedents that may impact the outcome of the litigation. They use this research to develop persuasive legal arguments and counter-opposing claims. In complex probate litigation cases, probate lawyers may work with expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants or appraisers, to provide professional opinions and testimony that support their clients' positions.
It's important to note that the specific role of a probate lawyer in courtroom litigation may vary depending on the jurisdiction, the complexity of the case, and the unique circumstances involved. Probate lawyers provide legal expertise, guidance, and representation to ensure their clients' interests are protected throughout the litigation process.