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probate litigation Archives

Proving reduced capacity led to undue influence

While we have many potential clients approach us at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., as the beneficiaries-- or not, as the case may be-- of disadvantageous wills, few of these situations involve undue influence. This does not mean that all wills written by competent grantors in Illinois are valid: far from it.

Keeping a family together through probate processes

Illinois wills are often unnecessarily confusing, especially when they land you in complicated and costly probate court litigation. While we work with many of our clients to plan their estates around avoiding probate, some people come to us already mired in the painstakingly slow estate valuation and distribution characteristic of the processes. When this happens, our first goal at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., is to expedite the situation as much as possible for the good of the family.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

If your estate is subject to probate, you run the risk of incurring steep legal costs and delaying the distribution of your assets to your heirs. Avoiding probate is crucial in this case, and there are a few methods you can utilize during estate planning that will allow you to do just that. The Balance has more information on how you can arrange your estate so that probate is no longer a concern.

What is a will contest?

If you are an Illinois resident who has been disinherited by a family member or otherwise are dissatisfied with the provision of someone’s will, you can challenge the authenticity of the will in court. This is called a will contest. As FindLaw explains, however, contesting a will is rarely successful. Up to 99 percent of American wills go through probate with no problems and no challenges.

Are no-contest clauses enforceable in Illinois?

While it might be easy for many in Mokena to dismiss those who contest the estate decisions of their loved ones as simply being petty or motivated by greed, it should be remembered that a good deal of emotion goes into the disbursement of an estate. When you lose someone close to you, your grief can easily be compounded if it appears that his or her true wishes are not expressed in his or her will. That may lead to questions as to whether or not another beneficiary (likely also someone you share a relationship with) might have attempted to exploit your family member or friend for financial gain. If such doubt does exist, can you be blamed for wanting to contest the will

Contesting a will that benefits a caretaker

One of the reasons a person might contest a will is because it gives valuable property to someone that the person believes had undue influence over the deceased testator. Undue influence can be a legal cause of a will contest. This type of situation has arisen in the caretaker-beneficiary setting.

Removal of an estate representative

In Illinois, a representative will usually be appointed where an estate needs to be administered according to the terms and provisions of a decedent’s will. After letters of administration are issued authorizing an estate representative to administer a decedent’s estate, certain duties and responsibilities attach to the representative.

How undue influence and mental capacity impact a will's validity

The death of a loved one in Illinois can be made even more difficult when the terms in his or her will come under question. When a will is challenged in court, two of the most common bases for its invalidity are lack of mental capacity and undue influence.

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Zapolis & Associates, P.C.
9991 191st Street
Mokena, IL 60448

Phone: 708-390-8936
Phone: 708-478-5050
Fax: 708-478-5052
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