Probate fights are nasty, exhausting and expensive. Whether you’re about to enter a probate fight or are already immersed in one, it’s important to know what happens in probate litigation. Let’s go over the probate litigation process so that you know what to expect.
- Lawsuit commenced, complaint filed
The lawsuit may be commenced in the probate court, trial court or circuit court. When filing a complaint, it’s done with the intent to notify the court that there is a dispute. In probate, it can be a lot of things like arguments over real property or a guardianship. It’s not a lawsuit that triggers the dispute, but rather the petition. It’s usually an allegation that someone is doing something that’s wrong.
- Service to defendants
Once the first step occurs, a service to defendants is issued. The defendants are personally served with copy of the petition so that the court obtains personal jurisdiction over the defendants.
- Answer to lawsuit
Logically speaking, someone has alleged that the defendant did something wrong so the person served as defendant must answer the allegations.
The term is broad, but in this context, discovery is the phase in which all parties involved are required, under certain procedures, to divulge information they are relying on in their dispute. This could be witnesses, documents and more. Any documents involved must be turned over. Discovery can occur in a variety of forms. It can occur in the form of written questions, a request for admissions and depositions.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution
Often, these matters are brought into what’s known as alternate dispute resolution. It may be better known as facilitation or mediation. In this phase, there are a variety of ways in which the dispute can be handled. This is often sought because it is a way of resolving disputes, short of trial, which can become expensive.
- Dispositive Motions
If the matters are not resolved prior to trial, parties may enter dispositive motions. These are motions that are filed with the court, asking the court to dismiss or resolve specific parts or the whole matter by written motion rather than trial.
With no resolution, a trial will commence. More often than not, probate cases don’t reach this phase because it can be expensive. On top of that, time has already passed to where litigants are to the point where they just want this all resolved. The trial may occur with a jury or in front of a judge who will make the decision.
If you have any more questions about the probate litigation process, or need a probate litigation attorney, call The Probate Pro at (877) YOUR-FIRM.