Most people who create an estate plan know that most of the process has do with taking steps to prepare for what the future holds. Whether you are creating medical directives, preparing your estate to transfer to your heirs, or creating a trust to help you protect your assets, estate planning usually takes place outside of the courtroom.
But what happens when a conflict erupts? What happens if someone has a dispute over a part of your plan? That’s where estate litigation comes into play.
In North Dakota, as well as in other states, you’ll have to go through the litigation process when you or someone else files a lawsuit. Knowing what this process entails and how estate litigation in Grand Forks can arise is important. Even though most estate plans never results in any type of lawsuits or litigation, you will want to know a little bit about it so you can be prepared for the possibility.
The Litigation Process
Litigation begins when someone files, or threatens to file, a lawsuit. In some situations, litigation can begin and end even before the courts get involved. Settling a lawsuit before it gets to court is something that happens regularly.
However, if parties don’t settle, they will then have to go through the litigation process. This process begins with the filing of a lawsuit, then proceeds through various stages.
One of these stages, for example, is known as discovery. Discovery involves each side collecting information about the facts of the case. This can involve depositions, interrogatories, document production requests, and other steps.
Throughout the discovery process the parties can continue to negotiate to try to obtain a settlement. If a settlement is impossible, they will then proceed to a hearing or trial. After the trial, if one party believes the ruling was unfair or not legally sound, that party can file an appeal.
The estate litigation process will differ significantly based on the types of issues at hand. While almost any aspect of state planning can result in litigation, there are some areas that more commonly result in litigation than others.
For example, when a wealthy person dies and leaves behind a last will and testament, the beneficiaries of the will, or those who were left out of the will, can often challenge the document. Will challenges can be made for any number of reasons, but this type of litigation typically only arises if the person who died left behind a substantial estate.
Many Litigation Possibilities
If you have a question about estate litigation in Grand Forks and what your legal options are, you have to speak to an estate planning lawyer. Creating a plan is complicated enough, and understanding the litigation process is not something you can do without legal advice.