While estate litigation can include probate litigation and trust litigation, there are situations that arise where there are no heirs, family members, or beneficiaries who disagree over what the decedent did with his or her Last Will and Testament or trust; however, estate litigation may still be required. For instance, the requisite estate litigation may be a lawsuit against a life insurance company that is refusing to honor the terms of a life insurance policy due to questionable circumstances surrounding the death of the decedent. Other instances in which probate attorney will be required may include:
Collecting and managing life insurance proceeds;
Getting the decedent's property appraised;
Finding and securing all of the decedent's assets;
Advising on how to pay the decedent's bills and settle debts;
Preparing/filing documents as required by probate court;
Managing the estate's checkbook; and
Determining whether any estate taxes are owed.
Probate is a process that generally includes:
Collecting the probate property of the decedent;
Paying debts, claims, and taxes owed by the estate;
Collecting all rights to income, dividends, etc.;
Settling any disputes; and
Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs.