Bellevue Estate Litigation Attorney
Disputes that arise during probate can lead to costly litigation, which can in turn diminish the value of the estate. A lawyer who is committed to providing cost-effective representation can work to resolve the dispute while preserving as much of the estate's value as possible. Joseph L. Hammer is a Bellevue estate litigation attorney who has navigated probate disputes since 1995.
Many issues can lead to a probate dispute, including:
- Will contests including issues of capacity and undue influence
- Breach of fiduciary duty by a guardian, trustee or personal representative
- Failure of the fiduciary to communicate promptly and accurately
- Disputes regarding the distribution of assets.
Seattle Lawyer For Beneficiary Representation
If you are the beneficiary of an estate and you believe the personal representative has ignored your requests for information or you believe he or she has used funds inappropriately, or if you have other concerns, Mr. Hammer can represent you. Many personal representatives are family members who are attempting to settle the deceased's estate without professional assistance. Washington's informal non-intervention probate system, while generally beneficial, encourages "do-it-yourself" probates. Without proper advice a personal representative can misunderstand the law or the application of the law to a certain set of facts. Mr. Hammer can help sort that out.
In the state of Washington, estate disputes are usually heard in TEDRA (Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act) proceedings, which are designed for greater efficiency. TEDRA proceedings may involve mediation, and evidence is generally presented by declaration or affidavit. The provisions of this act are codified at RCW 11.96A. Mr. Hammer helps clients navigate TEDRA proceedings efficiently and cost-effectively.
Disputes may arise when an individual dies without a will or other written estate plan. Such an individual is said to have died "intestate". In these situations, statutory law codified at RCW 11.04.015 is the default estate plan. A statutory beneficiary or "heir" may need professional assistance to assert his or her rights. Mr. Hammer can help that beneficiary ascertain and protect his or her rights.