Avoiding Common Issues
While a death in the family can bring everyone closer together, it can also have the opposite effect and tear the family apart. Grief and stress can exacerbate already complex relationships, and some families end up fighting over inheritances, heirlooms and other aspects of the estate.
We work quickly because if a legal battle lasts too long, it can drain the very estate assets that are at issue in the litigation. We want to help you resolve your legal issue as quickly and as favorably as possible, but that doesn’t mean we always try to settle. Instead, we judge each case on its own merits, and we confer with clients to determine the most appropriate course of action.
The number one reason for disputes during the succession process is lack of communication. Along with misunderstanding of the estate’s assets and liabilities, communication is at the forefront of most succession litigation.
For Executors and Administrators
At Field Law, we understand the common complaints and issues of a succession. We work with our executor clients to ensure and supplement communications with the other heirs or legatees.
When an heir or legatee is having issues with the estate – generally wanting their inheritance now or thinking there should be more assets than there are – they reach a dead end with the executor, so they call our office.
We work with the parties to resolve the issue and furnish information to explain where the succession is and what our estimated timeline will be. Sometimes things are outside of the executor’s control, such as sluggish tax refunds or enforcing the rights of the decedent on a recent homeowner’s insurance claim that is taking time to settle.
Our job is to avoid costly litigation while protecting our clients and the estate from harm.
For Heirs and Legatees
Sometimes the executor and their attorney are stonewalling or are completely incapable of fulfilling their fiduciary duties. At Field Law, we know how to step in to prevent further issues by requesting information while asserting legal rights of our clients to information.
An executor is a fiduciary, they are not a king, and they owe you as an heir or legatee their full devotion. They must act as a prudent administrator in collecting, protecting and maintaining the estate until it is time to disburse assets to the heirs.
When representing heirs or legatees, we understand that you are contacting us after you have exhausted trying to work it out with the executor. You are frustrated because the executor is not doing their job and now you are learning that you have limited rights to remove them from office.
For each case, we discuss your goals and what you expect from the estate. You will set the pace of representation and be given options for moving forward at many points during our representation. Often, we are able to get up to speed and work with opposing counsel to push the executor to wrap up the succession in short order.
Many questionable Wills are executed each year. Whether it was a generic online form that did not meet the strict criteria of Louisiana law or a Will executed during incapacity, Field Law knows how to handle your challenge.
Challenging a Last Will and Testament as to form are often the most effective as they require little evidence or witness testimony. Louisiana Will laws are strict, and the Louisiana Supreme Court has recently ruled that Wills must comply with the law or be held null and void. These types of challenges can also be brought quickly in order to prevent the loss of estate assets.
Challenging a Last Will and Testament as to capacity and duress are typically more subjective and require evidence and documentation of mental incapacity because of deteriorating health or medication, or they require evidence of abuse or intimidation. You should know that non-relative caregivers are a suspect class, lowering the burden of proof required to successfully challenge a Will that leaves them property.
At Field Law, our succession attorneys will give you an honest assessment of your case, what issues you will likely need to overcome and timeline.
For Creditors and Co-Owners
From ex-spouses that never settled community property to people that co-owned property with the decedent, at Field Law we know how to properly make your claims for reimbursement against the estate of the decedent.
Creditors’ claims can be difficult to navigate when the debtor passes away, but that does not mean you can’t be made whole. Don’t delay though as prescription – statutes of limitation – are running against you.
Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation
Field Law is based in Baton Rouge, but we serve clients throughout Louisiana. We are also pleased to work with clients outside the state on matters related to Louisiana estate law and successions. To arrange a free consultation, call us at 225-341-8221, or send us an email.