Las Vegas Probate, Trust & Estate Litigation
Our Probate, Trust and Estate Litigation Practice Offers Clients a Team of Professionals Widely Recognized as Being Among the Most Distinguished, Experienced, and Successful Litigators in the Field of Trusts and Estates in Nevada.
Many law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to attorneys who are fundamentally estate planners with limited or no experience handling a major contested matter in the probate courts. Other firms rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates. We are unique because we offer seasoned trial attorneys with many years of experience in Nevada’s probate courts. The trial attorneys at LKP have in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate litigation and trust disputes. For this reason, we are often the firm of choice to represent corporate fiduciaries (including large financial institutions), charitable beneficiaries, and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the most significant disputes involving trusts and estates. Our experienced Las Vegas trust & estate lawyers can help with your lawsuit & litigation needs.
Some Nevada Courts Use Commissioners Rather Than Judges and Have Special Probate Rules
It’s important that a lawyer who represents a party in litigation has knowledge of the special procedures used in probate. In most counties, the district court handles probate proceedings directly, but in Clark County (Las Vegas) and Washoe County (Reno) the courts have assigned probate commissioners to handle probate cases. In both Clark County and Washoe County there are special rules for practice in probate court.
Types of Trust, Estate and Probate Litigation in Nevada
Trust and estate litigation can cover many different situations in Nevada. Many of the areas of litigation center on the duties of the personal representative or trustee, and how well he or she fulfills their duties. Personal representatives and trustees are known as fiduciaries and held to a fiduciary standard of care, which generally means that the fiduciary must use more care with other people’s assets than they would with their own. A fiduciary is obligated to act in good faith, carry out the decedent’s wishes as set forth in a will or trust, and comply with Nevada the law.
Trust and estate litigation can occur at any point in the administration process. One of the most common types of litigation takes place at the outset when someone challenges the validity of the will or trust. A will or trust challenge is typically brought by someone who expects to be a beneficiary, but is not (or does not receive as much as they feel they are entitled to receive). This could be a disinherited child, or a number of relatives who lose their interest in favor of a late-in-life spouse who is the beneficiary of a newly-executed will or trust. Almost all challenges to the validity of a will or trust are based on one of the following claims: (1) the decedent lacked mental capacity to execute a will or trust; (2) the decedent was subject to undue influence when executing the will or trust; or (3) the will or trust was a product of fraud.
Other disputes arise during the administration of an estate. These generally occur when a fiduciary breaches their fiduciary duties. The five primary fiduciary duties are: (1) to account for the assets of the estate, (2) comply with the terms of the will or trust, (3) act loyally to the beneficiaries, (4) act impartially to all beneficiaries, and (5) act prudently in the management of the assets. Unfortunately, when a fiduciary fails to comply with their duties, the beneficiaries can be harmed. Accordingly, it is important to take early action when a fiduciary is not doing their job.
Conversely, it is not uncommon for situations to occur where disgruntled beneficiaries cannot be satisfied despite a fiduciary’s efforts to do all within their power to fulfill their fiduciary duties, comply with the terms of the will or trust, and follow Nevada law. In such cases, a fiduciary should seek legal representation to ensure they are protected from spurious claims and allegations that could result in personal liability.
Retain Experienced Trust and Estate Litigation Attorneys
At one time in the past, most lawyers practiced in a variety of fields of law. The lawyer might try a criminal case one day, draft a contract the next, then settle a divorce case and later advise a business as to the legality of a proposed deal. This was possible because in the past, the law was less complex. As our society has grown, more and more laws have been enacted such that it is difficult for lawyers to keep up with all the changes.
For this reason, the best lawyers today usually restrict their practices to certain subject areas. As they narrow their practice, they gain a much deeper understanding of the law in their limited focus and acquire significant expertise. This is especially true of trust and estate litigation. Not only must the lawyer know how to try cases in court, but the lawyer must understand the nuances of probate law to represent the client effectively.
Contact an Estate Litigation Law Firm in Nevada
LKP has highly experienced trust, estate & probate litigation lawyers in Las Vegas who practice almost exclusively in trust and estate litigation throughout Nevada. If you or someone you know needs assistance with trust and estate litigation in Nevada, whether in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, or Carson City, contact us for a free consultation using our online contact form. Or call 702-333-1711 to speak to a trust and estate litigation attorney experienced in trying cases and winning settlements.