The 8 Stages of Estate & Trust Litigation

June 24, 2018 in Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Virginia Estate Lawyers

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.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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