Focused, Knowledgeable Representation Through Will Contests
The Law Office of Curtis E. Shirley, LLC, represents both plaintiffs and defendants through legal challenges to Indiana wills. As a contested will lawyer with over 30 years of experience, Mr. Shirley has a thorough understanding of the deadlines and procedures required to advance a claim. He provides diligent and assertive counsel in mediation and litigation and can guide your matter to an efficient, cost-effective resolution.
Common Causes For Will Contests
When someone passes away, the local probate court often admits a will to probate. Most states require you to challenge the will within a few months. Indiana law requires you to file a will contest within three months after the order admitting it to probate. This is a very short time frame to hire an attorney and file the necessary paperwork with the court.
The most common reason to challenge a will is the decedent did not appear to be of sound mind to sign any legal document. Perhaps he or she got confused about family member names or did not understand the nature and extent of his or her property. Memory problems, confusion, repeating phrases, not following along in conversations, disorientation or a medical problem such as dementia – all are common signs of a lack of sound mind.
In addition, wills are formal documents, and sometimes the required formalities are not properly followed. This is often referred to as undue execution. Indiana law requires that two witnesses must actually see the decedent sign their will. Indiana law requires that this original, signed document be filed with the clerk. However, this document is sometimes lost and presumed revoked.
Undue influence is another reason to set aside a will. Perhaps one of the beneficiaries helped draft the document or set up a meeting with the drafting attorney, or even more disturbing, sat in the room when all of this went on. Once a new will is signed, the “undue influencer” often isolates the decedent and prevents others from meeting or talking with a loved one.
Will Contests In Blended Families Or Caretakers
The rise in divorce and remarriage has given our society many more blended families, stepchildren and stepparents. Another societal change involves how we care for the elderly, who may have the choice of a nursing home or in-home care. With children not handling day-to-day responsibilities, caretakers are inheriting more than ever. The ethical standards of fiduciaries also appear to be on the decline. Those assigned powers of attorney or attorneys-in-fact control much of the will preparation process. Even licensed attorneys are drafting documents that benefit themselves or members of their families.
All of these changes to family structure have led to more frequent conflicts over inheritances. If a will contest involves undue influence, persons involved in making the will perhaps manipulated the decedent. Disputes over the provisions of a will also arise when the decedent was mentally or emotionally unbalanced. Whatever the origin of the dispute, the litigation or mediation required for resolving a will contest is difficult and complicated, demanding a skilled and experienced attorney.
Resolve Complex Issues With A Capable Contested Will Lawyer
Because will contests are so complicated, few Indiana attorneys practice in this field, and fewer still are willing to travel across the state to meet with clients or litigate in local courts. Mr. Shirley is respected for both his exceptional experience in will contests and his dedication to providing clients and professionals throughout Indiana with personalized, adaptable service. He serves those that wish to contest wills, and also those who wish to have an attorney defend the estate against a will contest.
To learn how Mr. Shirley can help you in any matter involving a will contest, contact the Law Office of Curtis E. Shirley, LLC, today. Call 317-439-5648 or complete his online form to schedule a consultation.