Trust and estate matters are personal and complicated. Losing a relative or loved one takes a toll on individuals. Needing to deal with estate litigation during such a difficult time can be challenging. If you face estate litigation, you will benefit from working with an experienced estate planning attorney who can protect your rights.
Contact an Estate Litigation Attorney in Myrtle Beach and Florence
Whether you are a beneficiary, guardian, agent, or fiduciary, the estate litigation attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, are prepared to help you with your case. Our Myrtle Beach and Florence trust and estate litigators have represented clients in some of the most high-profile complex disputes involving estates, trust, and conservatorships. Contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA today to schedule your free consultation.
Our Estate Litigation Attorneys
The estate litigation team at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, has experience representing clients in a wide range of estate litigation cases. Our estate litigation attorneys partner with other lawyers from our law firm with tax, estate planning, and estate administration backgrounds. Our breadth of experience allows us to litigate cases for our clients successfully.
Estate litigation is a broad practice area that can involve beneficiaries, creditors, executors, and even spouses who have been wrongfully left out of estate plans. Estate litigation claims can also involve incapacitated or elderly individuals who are caught up in estate litigation. We regularly appear in court representing clients in the following estate litigation matters:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Fiduciary misconduct
- Will contest and will defense
- Formal accountancy
- Improper execution
- Probate fraud
- Probate litigation
- Probate appeals
- Elder abuse litigation
- Formal accountings
- Improper execution
- Removal of trustee
- Elimination of executors
- Trying to remove squatters from estate property
- Surcharge actions
- Fiduciary litigation
- Guardianship litigation
- Appeals from estate litigation cases
- Powers of attorney litigation
- Intentional interference with inheritance
- Elective share and omitted spouse claims
- Conservatorship litigation
Trust Litigation Attorneys in South Carolina
Many estate planners use trusts to protect their assets and distribute their property to their beneficiaries directly without going through the probate process. A trust is a legal document that holds property for the benefit of another person or charitable organization called the beneficiary. Trusts are effective estate planning tools because they can protect family assets, manage a family business, minimize taxes, carry out charitable goals, and provide for generations of family members. Trustees have a legal duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and follow the rules set forth in the trust agreement.
Trust beneficiaries may come to believe that the trustee is mismanaging the funds in the trust. The trustee may have violated the guidelines of the trust through misappropriated assets or improper investments. Trustees are fiduciaries who can be held liable in court for inappropriate, fraudulent, or poor decisions related to the property in the trust. A beneficiary may also have the right to remove a trustee even if the trustee doesn’t want to give up his or her role.
Many trust litigation cases involve a claim from one or more beneficiaries that the trustee is not fulfilling his or her duties. Another common type of trust litigation case occurs when one person challenges the validity of the trust. Perhaps someone believes he or she should have been included as a beneficiary in the trust, but they aren’t. In other cases, a beneficiary may feel like they are entitled to more assets than they are receiving. A potential beneficiary may challenge the trust’s validity due to a lack of mental capacity of the decedent to execute a trust.
Will Contest Litigation
A last will and testament reflects the testator’s last wishes for how the testator would like his or her estate to be distributed after their death. Once the will has been entered into the probate court, interested parties have a right to challenge the validity of the will. South Carolina has specific requirements for creating a will, and when these requirements haven’t been met, a probate court has the authority to set aside the will for being invalid.
There are various challenges a beneficiary or potential beneficiary can bring to contest the will. A person may claim that someone else exerted undue influence on the testator who created the will. Perhaps the testator’s caregiver began mentally and emotionally abusing the testator, pressuring the testator to change his will to include only the caretaker as a beneficiary. In other cases, a person may challenge the will, claiming that the testator lacks a sound mind to execute a will.
Will contest litigation may involve claims of fraud. A beneficiary or potential beneficiary may claim forged signatures or fraudulent pages in the will. A will contest may involve withholding or destroying a will that wouldn’t benefit them. If you suspect that a will is somehow invalid, inauthentic, or has gone missing, there could be evidence of fraud, and we recommend contacting a litigation attorney.
Estate Litigation for Intestate Estates
When a person passes away without a will, the court will distribute their assets according to South Carolina intestacy laws. These laws decide who will inherit the property when someone dies without a will. The probate court will appoint a personal representative who will manage the distribution of property. The rules about who inherits property are complex. Personal representatives may not make prudent or accurate decisions about distributing property. Litigation may become necessary when a personal representative fails to distribute property to a person who was entitled to it under the law.
Discuss Your Case With an Estate Litigation Attorney
Regardless of the type of estate or probate matter you’re facing, you can trust the seasoned attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA. Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating cases in court and in-depth knowledge of the complex law and unique procedures related to probate disputes. Whether you are actively involved in litigation or have questions about estate litigation, contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.