Probate

Draft Will Is Almost (But Not Quite) Admitted to Probate

SEPTEMBER 20, 2010 VOLUME 17 NUMBER 29 There is a lot of mythology, misunderstanding and just plain confusion about wills and probate. Sometimes the reported cases don’t help clarify what makes a will valid, when it is subject to challenge or even what might be a will. The general rule is clear, and ancient. The …

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Dispute Over Family Home Pits Children Against Stepchildren

OCTOBER 19, 2009  VOLUME 16, NUMBER 58 More than a decade ago we told you about a Utah case involving a widower’s remarriage (see Surviving Spouse Revokes Trust–Children Disinherited from February 2, 1998) . Although the children of the deceased woman and her surviving husband were supposed to receive everything on his later death, the widower …

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Probate Fee Dispute Leads to Additional Attorney’s Fees

APRIL 12, 2004 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 41 Kathryn Gordon’s will named her sister, Nancy Molet, to handle her estate. Based on that will Ms. Molet was appointed as personal representative. Like most individuals in such circumstances, Ms. Molet hired an attorney to help her get through the probate process. Eventually Phoenix attorney Harvey Finks billed …

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“Full Faith and Credit” Applies In Two-State Probate Actione

APRIL 5, 2004 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 40 A Florida court found Alvarado Kelly incompetent in 1960, and appointed a guardian to manage his property. Fifteen years later Mr. Kelly moved to a facility in Mississippi operated by Sarah Cuevas; he lived in that facility until his death twenty five years later. After his death Mr. …

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Proponent of Invalid Will Must Pay Attorney’s Fees to Family

JANUARY 19, 2004 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 29 Edmond and Elma Crittell befriended Violet Houssien and, according to Ms. Houssien’s family, set about getting the older woman to write a new will. Some of the evidence in the later will contest proceeding indicated that they may have even forged her signature on the will and, in …

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Multiple Owners Have Equal Interests In Joint Bank Account

SEPTEMBER 8, 2003 VOLUME 11, NUMBER 10 When individuals look for ways to simplify the handling of their estates, they frequently decide to simply put their heirs’ names on assets. Parents, for example, often make their children joint owners on bank accounts—reasoning that the money will then be easier to get to if needed, and …

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Contingency Fee Agreement Permitted Only If Fee Is Reasonable

MARCH 31, 2003 VOLUME 10, NUMBER 39 Contingency fee agreements are common in personal injury cases and many other types of litigation. In some kinds of lawsuits (for example, divorce or criminal cases) contingency fee arrangements are banned as being against public policy. Are contingency fees permissible in probate cases, and particularly will contests? According …

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Widow Awarded Attorney’s Fees In Action Against Estate

MAY 20, 2002 VOLUME 9, NUMBER 47 The probate process is often viewed as unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive. Most states (Arizona included) have vastly simplified probate proceedings, but they can still seem unduly burdensome. Of course, the whole point of having a court-run probate process is to ensure that all parties’ rights and interests are …

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