For those who anticipate having to go through estate and trust litigation, they can rely on an attorney at Martin Wren for assistance. With all the legal terminology and steps to get through, we expect there to be plenty of questions. We are happy to provide more information about estate and trust litigation, so you can feel more empowered about what is to come. In this article, we have briefly covered what each stage in the litigation process entails.
#1 – Investigation
During the initial stage, proof is gathered and the strength of a case is evaluated. An attorney at Martin Wren can talk with you in further detail about your case and examine your position for more evidence. Examples of supportive documents to your case can include:
- Disputed Trust or Estate
- Communication Between Parties or Attorneys
- Decedent Information
- Contacts of Witnesses
#2 – Pleading
Pleadings are official documents that are filed to the court, and include the positions of every party involved in the trial. The initial pleading can also be referred to as the petition. All relevant parties or family are notified of the trial.
#3 – Discovery
This is perhaps the most important stage of an estate and trust litigation process. Each side attempts to gain information or evidence that supports their case. This can include interrogations, requests for admissions, requests for documents and subpoenas.
#4 – Mediation/Negotiation
The judge may require that both parties attend mediation, in an attempt to negotiate and settle on an agreement. If they are not able to agree, then the litigation process continues on.
#5 – Witness Depositions
An expert witness testifies, and is most often a professional who can attest to the decedent’s mental capacity at the time the estate plan was created. An attorney may testify as well regarding estate planning methods, trusts or wills.
#6 – Preparation for Court
At this stage, an attorney at Martin Wren can work relentlessly on your behalf, in order to get ready for trial. Once a trial date is scheduled, an attorney must put their nose to the grindstone in preparation.
#7 – Litigation Trial
Estate and trust litigation trials may take anywhere from one day, up to many weeks. Sometimes, the trial may not be scheduled for consecutive days in a row either. These trial dates can become separated by weeks at a time. This can cause much frustration on behalf of the parties and their attorneys.
#8 – Resolution or Appeal
If a trial is lost, the losing party can appeal the decision. However, if an appeal is submitted, it does not guarantee approval. If there was a mistake made on behalf of the judge, a case should be appealed. It is not recommended to rely on an appeal as a backup plan, as the majority of appeals are denied.
At Martin Wren, we understand just how serious an estate and trust litigation process is, and can offer strategic legal guidance during every step. Do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today.