California Wills, Trusts, Probate & Litigation Attorneys
Bradley R. Kirk & Associates, Inc. | A Professional Law Corporation
Office Address: 2600 Michelson Drive Seventeenth Floor Irvine, California 92612

Probate Litigation Attorney in Orange County

Orange County Probate Lawyer

Probate Litigation 1.       Executors/Administrators/
           Personal Representatives

The person in charge of an estate is referred to as an executor (if there is a Will) or an administrator (if there is no Will). A generic term for both an executor and administrator is a “personal representative.”

We represent personal representatives who have been appointed by the Court and who have been sued by a beneficiary or other person. Personal representatives are in a difficult position. They have been appointed by the Court to vigorously defend the assets of an estate, but they can also be personally liable for losses to the Estate.  Accordingly, personal representatives need competent and aggressive legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected and to ensure that they faithfully carry out their duties to defend and maximize the estate assets.

Beneficiaries in an estate can get very difficult if they believe that they are being shortchanged or believe that the decedent did not treat them fairly in the Will.  Personal representatives are often the scapegoats for these disgruntled beneficiaries. We represent personal representatives who have been sued for alleged misconduct or who are otherwise caught up in estate litigation.  It is imperative that personal representatives mount a strong and effective defense because they can be held personally liable if things go badly.

2.       Beneficiaries

Incompetent and corrupt personal representatives do exist. In those situations where (a) a beneficiary is being treated unfairly, (b) a personal representative is not doing their job or (c) a corrupt personal representative is stealing funds from the estate, beneficiaries need an assertive and effective litigator to take aggressive action when necessary to ensure that the beneficiary’s rights are protected. People may not realize it, but personal representatives are often given unlimited access to, and authority over, estate assets. If the personal representative steals money, that money may be very difficult to recover.  One it is gone, it is gone.  An effective litigator can tie up estate assets to ensure that they are preserved for the beneficiary until it comes time for distribution.

Some personal representatives are not corrupt, but they simply do not do their job. They invest estate funds improperly or fail to invest them at all. They sometimes refuse to do any work on the estate and just let it languish in the Courts. The Courts have insufficient resources to closely monitor personal representatives who refuse to move the estate along. The law provides beneficiaries with rights under these circumstances, but in order to protect these rights, beneficiaries must hire an attorney to take action against the negligent or non-responsive personal representative. We have extensive experience in ensuring that personal representatives are held accountable in every aspect of their job.

We realize that beneficiaries often are unable to afford to hire an attorney and pay a substantial retainer and hefty hourly fees. In order to assist our beneficiary clients, we are often able to take their case without requiring any payment up front. We then get paid at the conclusion of the matter, often from their share of the estate proceeds. Therefore, our clients may never have to pay our fees out of their own pockets.  We find that this type of arrangement allows our clients to have the highest quality of legal representation without having to advance legal fees along the way.

Contact an Orange County Probate Lawyer at Bradley R. Kirk & Associates today to discuss probate litigation in southern California.

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Office Address: 2600 Michelson Drive Seventeenth Floor Irvine, California 92612 Phone: (949) 252-0333