One of the most pressing types of legal matters is when there’s a will or trust that seems to be unfair or unenforceable. In these situations, individuals may be dealing with a smaller inheritance than could be reasonably expected, or they could have to contend with competing claims for a finite asset pool.

The question that often comes to mind next is: “What kind of lawyer can help me out when I want to contest a will, trust, or a similar asset-allocation instrument?”

The Lawyer You Need

The right type of attorney could go by many different names, such as the following:

  • Probate lawyer
  • Will lawyer
  • Inheritance lawyer
  • Estate planning attorney

The latter type of lawyer most often deals with helping individuals arrange their estates prior to their death, but the field of law is roughly the same. In any case, what you need is an attorney who has experience managing the process of allocating the property of a decedent, resolving disputes related to the allocation, or using the law to determine answers to complex questions about who gets what. 

In many situations, the probate attorney will help their client seek a favorable outcome by contesting a will on grounds that could make it invalid. Other times, the probate attorney helps their client interpret the law to make the last wishes of the decedent come true.

If you need assistance disputing a will or ensuring it is enforced, don’t hesitate to reach out to a probate lawyer in San Luis Obispo. The Ernst Law Group can be here for you in your time of need. We help individuals interpret the law and also exercise their right to contest a will that’s potentially invalid.

Learn more about your legal options and how a probate lawyer can help you when you call (805) 678-0272 or contact us online.

What Are Common Reasons for Hiring a Probate Lawyer?

The general reason to hire a San Luis Obispo probate attorney is to ensure that a will is reasonable and that its execution follows the letter of the law. In practice, the need for a probate lawyer can arise in any of the following situations:

  • The decedent passes with no legitimate will or trust
  • A will is vague or fails to mention certain assets
  • A will is in direct contradiction to another version of the document
  • A will conflicts with a previously made, legally enforceable contract
  • The will was created or altered while the decedent was the victim of fraud, manipulation, or “undue influence”
  • The will completely overlooks a spouse, child, or someone who would normally inherit property by way of immediate intestate succession
  • Property cannot be divided in an obvious way to meet the terms of the will
  • Creditors are laying claim to an estate’s assets

What to Look for in a San Luis Obispo Probate Attorney

In any of the situations listed above, someone who wants to fight a will can benefit from the services of someone knowledgeable about California estate, property, and contract law. The attorney should also be experienced with how the courts typically enforce and interpret wills. 

In many disputed will cases, the courts will strongly advise all parties to negotiate amongst themselves and to come to a settlement agreement. This reduces the need for lengthy litigation or a court trial. Because of this expectation, a probate lawyer should be a skilled negotiator; someone who knows how to convince other parties to give their client what they want. 

How an Inheritance Lawyer or Probate Attorney Could Help You

The most basic service an inheritance lawyer can provide is to keep you informed of the law, legal procedures, and your rights as a named (or potential) beneficiary. They can teach you the basic reasons a will could be declared invalid in California and what the process of contesting a will looks like. 

Your attorney can also guide you through the probate process, especially if there are other parties with counterclaims or complaints about the will.

Every case is different, but the legal strategies become clearer when an experienced attorney is involved.

Find out what a probate lawyer can do for you and what legal options you may have in your situation when you schedule a free appointment at Ernst Law Group. Call (805) 678-0272 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review with a probate attorney near you.