martindale Avvo Rating  Berk Law Group, P.C. Super Lawyers | Kent S. Berk | Berk & Moskowitz, P.C.

Probate, Trust & Estate Contests & Disputes

“Hi, I’m Kent Berk. I am an attorney at the Scottsdale, Arizona law firm of Berk Law Group. We handle many types of disputes, contests and administration of probate, estates, trusts. One of the primary areas we handle are probate, trusts and estate contests and disputes. That’s a very broad area, but you may wonder what does that include, a probate, dispute or contest?

Well, there’s many types, but a typical probate or estate dispute would involve a question of the validity of a will. Was the will signed in accordance with the statutory requirements? Another typical will or trust contest involves, whether the person had testamentary capacity or was unduly influenced. Whether there was fraud or maybe a signature was forged.

Other probate, trusts and estate disputes involve creditors’ claims, where there’s someone who claims to be owed money and the estate or the trust contest that and wants to dispute the validity of the debt. There’s many other types of probate, trusts and estate contests and disputes. Let me talk about the procedure of how a probate, trust, or estate dispute gets resolved.

If someone has a dispute or a contest, hopefully, that matter can be resolved before litigation, before a proceeding is filed in the probate court. If it can’t be resolved before a lawsuit is filed then what happens is, one of the parties can file a petition in probate court. Then the court will set an initial hearing and of course, the petitioning party has to give all interested persons notice of the hearing.

Then the contestants, the objecting parties can either show up at the hearing and object, in which case, then the court will set a deadline for them to file a written objection, or they can file a written objection three days before the hearing.

Then either at that initial hearing or at a subsequent status conference, the court will set deadlines for discovery, a settlement conference exchanging, what are called disclosure statements, exhibits and witnesses, among many other things. Then the court can also set a settlement conference or a mediation, where the parties will hopefully be able to reach a resolution by a compromise or a settlement.

If they’re unable to resolve the matter at a settlement conference or a mediation, then eventually the court will set a trial or an evidentiary hearing, where the parties can submit exhibits and they can have witnesses testify, so that the court can make a decision on the contested issue. Of course, that’s just a brief summary of what the procedures are, involving a probate, trust or estate dispute.

Then also there’s many other types of probate, trusts and estates disputes. If you have any questions or you need any help in such a matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you.” – Kent Berk