Arizona Probate Litigation Lawyer
A large percent of our business comes to us through referrals from our own satisfied present and past clients. They appreciate the way we get results for them quickly and at a reasonable cost, while providing them personalized service. We have most of the resources of larger firms, while maintaining a more personal, comfortable and individualized approach for each client.
William D. Black, Arizona probate and trust litigation attorney , has been practicing law for more than 25 years. In that time, our law firm has achieved excellent results in probate and trust litigation cases for our clients.
Disputes Over Wills, Trusts, Probate and Elder Exploitation
We have the experience to represent you in cases involving:
- Will contests : We represent interested parties who believe they did not receive that to which they were entitled in the administration of the will.
- Testamentary incapacity : This is a common argument for the invalidity of a will. For a will to be valid in Arizona, the testator (the person passing on wealth in the will or trust) must 1) understand that he or she is making a will, 2) He or she is able to understand the nature and character of his or her property, and 3) He or she is able to recollect the relationship of the natural objects of his or her bounty and those who naturally would have some claim to his or her remembrance.
- Abuse of power of attorney : The attorney in fact under a power of attorney receives a great deal of authority and discretion by the principal. When that power is abused, we help get justice for our clients who have suffered monetary losses.
- Undue influence : When a testator is coerced through threat of violence or is psychologically manipulated in some way, the relevant provisions of a will or trust or potentially the entire document will be invalidated.
- Claims against fiduciaries and executors : There are a number of ways that executors and fiduciaries can misperform in the execution of their duties in the administration of a will or trust. They can be guilty of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence or fraud. We can help you nullify their bad acts.
- Reformation or termination of a trust : Disputes often arise as to whether the purpose of a trust has been realized and whether it should be modified or terminated by petitioning the court.
- Legal, just and equitable distribution: This is the main point for almost all probate and trust-related disputes. In most cases there must be some mistake or other form of legal injustice for the court to intervene and correct errors which are proven to be present in the probate of a will or the administration of a trust.
- Elder exploitation and fiduciary litigation : Elderly people can be vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation. This is especially true in today's economically troubled economy. Arizona has special laws to provide needed protections. Whenever someone takes, secrets or retains real or personal property of an elderly person or dependent adult with intent to wrongfully use or defraud, or whoever assists in doing so, can be found responsible for elder abuse and in some cases prosecuted criminally. We can review your case with you to ascertain our remedies.
- Trust litigation : People set up trusts to protect their assets and to make certain their assets, upon their death are expended according to their wishes. Interested parties, such as people who are beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries under the trust in many instances decide to challenge the trust if they believe there are certain injustices or irregularities in administration.
We represent different interests in trust disputes. Our clients range from individuals, to banks, to attorneys, to brokers to charitable organizations and families.
Contesting the Appointment of an Executor or Personal Representative
An executor or personal representative is designated in the will by the testator or appointed by a probate court judge. The duty of an executor is to administer the estate according to the provisions set forth in the will. Usual responsibilities of the executor are to pay the bills of the estate, collect all debts of the estate and distribute the assets. It is not unusual that the appointment of the executor or personal representative can be disputed and can lead to family disagreements and distrust among the heirs. Our firm often represents executors whose appointments have been challenged or in other cases we represent heirs and beneficiaries who wish to make such a challenge. Contact us for a free initial consultation.