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Estate Litigation
Aid & Direction

Virginia Estate Law - Estate Litigation

Contesting A Will
Aid & Direction of The Court
Against Fiduciaries

There are a number of decisions that a personal representative may be faced with during the administration of an estate. Where the personal representative is uncertain as to proper action due to unclear provisions in a will, or other material reasons, assistance should be obtained.

Assistance of legal counsel, tax advice and in some instances, investment advice, is highly recommended when handling the administration of an estate.

Professional advice, though, cannot always resolve confusion or uncertainty resulting from a poorly drafted will, or circumstances that are not clearly addressed by the law. In these instances the aid and direction of the court should be sought.

Examples of issues that may cause a personal representative to seek the guidance of the court include:

Ambiguous or conflicting provisions in a will and/or a codicil to a will.
Uncertainty as to whether one more assets are part of the decedent's estate.
The determination of the distributees of the decedent's estate, where this is unclear.

Seeking the aid and direction of the court in appropriate instances can be very important to the personal representative. After hearing the matter the court will enter an order resolving the issues in question. The personal representative is protected from personal liability if he or she follows the court's order.

In most instances the cost, including reasonable attorney's fees, can be paid as a cost of administration of the estate.

Although it may seem logical for a personal representative to seek the aid and direction of the court on all decisions in order to obtain protection against personal liability, the court will only determine issues involving genuine doubt or difficulty.

The court will not normally hear matters which do not involve legal determinations and that, under the will or law, are left to the discretion of the personal representative.

The suit must be filed in the court where probate and/or qualification for the decedent's estate occurred. All parties who may be interested in the issue must be made parties to the suit.

Against Fiduciaries >>>

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