Discussions between the parties in private or in mediation sessions with trained mediators can settle most estate disputes.
Emotions often run high at these times and independent professionals can provide much-needed guidance to resolve issues. If that is not possible, estate litigation may result, especially if essential estate planning steps were not taken by the deceased.
If there is no will or personal representative, for instance, family members and potential beneficiaries may not see eye to eye.
When alternative dispute resolution methods don’t work, the estate litigation lawyers at Spectrum Family law in Edmonton are ready to help settle matters in court.
Where assets like real estate and businesses are jointly owned and one of the partners passes away, disputes can arise.
This is especially true in cases between the surviving partner and the family of the deceased.
Disputes can become very intense and complex, especially where the value of the assets involved is particularly high.
The guidance of a seasoned estate litigation lawyer can make the difference when you consider your options as a joint asset owner or family member.
You may decide to challenge the provisions in the will or the actions taken by the deceased before passing away.
Support claims by or for dependents
Dependent children of a deceased parent have a right to adequate financial support from the estate according to Alberta’s Estate Administration Act.
Therefore, if inadequate provisions have been made in a will or trust, a legal challenge can be made by a spouse, adult interdependent partner or dependent child.
If there is no will, the court-appointed administrator also needs to adequately provide for minors and dependents or estate litigation may result.
“Quantum meruit” disputes
Quantum meriut is a Latin term meaning “as much as he has deserved”.
In legal terms, a quantum meriut dispute arises when an individual makes a claim against the estate of the deceased for labour that he or she believes should have been paid but wasn’t.
In other words, the plaintiff believes that he or she has not been adequately compensated by the estate for work performed.
It can be challenging for the plaintiff to prove that payment was merited but not paid because they must show that the services rendered were not gratuitous and were delivered under the mutual understanding that payment would be made.
It is common for a loved one to care for a sick relative in Edmonton, for instance. The carer may claim compensation for this but the court may consider that the services rendered were those reasonably expected of a close relative and were, therefore, performed gratuitously.
Estate litigation challenges for families in Edmonton
Estate litigation can be challenging for family members and the lawyers they hire because of the unique forces at play in these types of disputes.
The death of a loved one frequently unleashes strong emotions that can lead to fierce conflicts between people who perceive an injustice.
Disputes generally occur at a time of grieving for a family, which heighten emotions and the challenge faced by those involved. There may be sentimental as well as financial reasons for wanting to obtain particular assets.
Poor choices and rash decisions are often made if people do not receive the right guidance at this time.
Because of such complexities, estate litigation lawyers must handle the situation compassionately but in accordance with the relevant estate laws in Alberta.
Another challenge for families in Edmonton is the complexities involved in administering a large estate with substantial assets. When people stand to gain or lose considerable amounts, it can heighten emotional and adversarial sentiments towards each other.
Again, compassionate and considered guidance is required in these circumstances to avoid estate litigation.
Can we represent you in Edmonton estate litigation?
Whether you are representing the estate as the personal representative or are a beneficiary or third party, our estate litigation lawyers can represent you…
Are you a personal representative?
To carry out the final wishes of the deceased, the personal representative may need to defend a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. In such cases, we can help defend:
A claim by a person who believes they should be a beneficiary
A claim by dependents for an increased share of the estate
Accusations of mismanagement of estate assets
A contested will
If, as the personal representative, you need to file a lawsuit against an individual who unlawfully takes assets from the estate, we can also assist you.
Are you a beneficiary?
If you are a beneficiary of the estate, we can assist with:
An appeal against the distribution of assets
A claim for an increased interest in the estate (due to dependency)
An appeal against the management of estate funds
Contesting the validity of a will
Helping to secure specific assets from an estate
Are you a third party?
If you are a third party, we can help with the following:
Attaining a copy of the will to check beneficiaries
Disputing the change of a will just before death
Contesting the validity of a will
Making a quantum meruit claim
Estate litigation in Edmonton
An estate litigation lawyer at Spectrum Family Law in Edmonton is ready to listen to your situation and advise you of your legal options during a free case evaluation.