PROBATE AND TRUST LITIGATION
Probate and Trust litigation arise from many causes. A few examples of issues that Mr. Levin has handled include: litigation over an ambiguous Will or a Trust; over authenticity of a Will; undue influence; a caregiver who takes advantage; a questionable deed; a dispute concerning title to real property; a child who sues because she was disinherited; the disappearance of the proceeds of a bank account; creditor disputes.
Sometimes, an Experienced Probate and Probate Litigation Attorney can use the provisions of the Probate Code to save the Estate and the Heirs time and money. For example, if there is an issue concerning ownership of real property of a deceased person, Probate Code Section 850 provides for a procedure that may be quicker and cheaper than a civil case lawsuit to Quiet Title. An Experienced Probate Attorney, Asher A. Levin has used that procedure to establish ownership of real property for a nephew who purchased decedent’s interest in the property prior to her death. In another case, Attorney Levin used that procedure to establish that property was not held in the Probate estate, but had been transferred to a Corporation. Asher A. Levin has used this procedure to establish that property had been transferred to a Living Trust, even though there was no deed or other formal documentation outside of the Trust. Finally, Attorney Levin has used this procedure to enforce the obligations that a spouse had to his deceased Wife’s children under the terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement.
Sometimes, the litigation concerns (alleged or actual) mismanagement of a Probate Estate or of a Trust. Attorney Levin has successfully sued to replace a Trustee, to force an accounting and to obtain repayment of over $100,000 that the Trustee had taken from the Trust. Other times, there is simply a desire of the Beneficiaries to take over management of a Trust. Mr. Levin has represented a Trustee who received a substantial payment to resign as Trustee.
Sometimes, the disputes in a probate case involve a business. As an experienced Probate Attorney and an experienced Business Attorney, Asher A. Levin has helped a client purchase the 50% interest in a business that was subject to a Probate – at a price far less than the court appraisal. In another Probate case, the estate held 51% of the stock in a corporation that owned a cemetery. The Probate had lasted many years, with disputes between the shareholders and problems with regards to a proposed sale of the assets to a national cemetery company. Attorney Asher Levin substituted into the case and executed a plan to sell the stock for a fair price and at the same time to protect the Probate Estate (and the beneficiary) from any foreseeable tax or other liability. He negotiated the sale of all rights in the stock (and all responsibility for tax or other liability), to the owner of the other 49% of the corporation, and negotiated the subsequent sale of the assets of the corporation to the national cemetery company, secured the payment for the Estate’s stock (paid out of the escrow for sale to the cemetery company), obtained the payment and was able to close the probate and distribute the proceeds to a grateful beneficiary.
Probate court rules are not always the same as civil court rules. An experienced Probate and Trust attorney can guide you through Probate Court litigation where a civil litigator may fail.