Wichita Probate Lawyers Uphold and Implement Final Instructions
Skilled counsel to manage and disperse assets promptly and properly
When a loved one has passed away, the process of settling affairs can be burdensome, especially if you are inexperienced with probate or unfamiliar with the details of your loved one’s estate. Trying to settle an estate yourself can result in costly errors and delays. That’s why Peggs Wheeler, LC helps families administer estates from start to finish, with or without a will. Usually and under most circumstances, some things, such as life insurance and retirement benefits, will not be subject to probate, and we effect their transfer immediately. We will deal with all assets, collecting, managing and distributing them as the law requires. Regardless of whether settling your estate is complex, requires litigation or is merely routine, we do our utmost to follow testamentary directives and standards.
Understanding the concept of fiduciary duty in estate matters
An executor has a fiduciary duty to act honestly and in good faith when carrying out his or her responsibilities, among them:
- Identifying beneficiaries
- Identifying assets
- Settling claims against the estate
- Collecting debts owed to the estate
- Dispersing funds
Many estate plans include trusts, which require an executor to exercise the same duty in the course of:
- Investing trust assets
- Reporting on the state of the trusts
- Dispersing assets according to the terms of the trust
When serving as counsel to executors and other estate fiduciaries, we guide them through probate or estate administration, helping them be assured of compliance with all their legal responsibilities.
Compassionate guidance through the probate process
Probate is the legal procedure by which one’s assets are collected and distributed as dictated by law and the terms of a person’s will and trusts. We can assist you with:
- Notification of heirs — Our attorneys identify all beneficiaries and work to locate even those who might be estranged. We then keep them apprised until the process is complete. Mistakes at this stage can be costly to reverse, so we take care to account for every person in the deceased’s line of succession.
- Collection of property and income — Peggs Wheeler, LC has the knowledge and background to find and secure assets.
- Distribution of estate items — During probate, we provide the guidance you will need to deal with taxes and other required payments made from the estate. We scrutinize claims against the estate to determine that their proper handling. Once the debts are satisfied, we will direct the disbursement of property to the proper beneficiaries according to the testator’s wishes or the law of the State of Kansas.
Peggs Wheeler probate lawyers take special care to complete the process with the professionalism and decorum that you expect and deserve.
Experienced attorneys to help avoid and resolve will disputes
Nobody wants the probate process to drag on, and proper estate planning can prevent many conflicts from ever happening. But disputes still sometimes arise among beneficiaries and sometimes other claimants. Challenges to a will usually arise when a would-be beneficiary suspects any of the following:
- Undue influence — Someone close to the testator has used emotional manipulation to prompt the execution or amendment of a will to enhance their bequest to the exclusion of other beneficiaries.
- Duress — Emotional pressure or physical threats were made to compel the testator to execute or amend a will.
- Fraud — The testator was deceived and signed a will that does not express their true intentions.
- Counterfeit — The will in question is not the will the testator actually executed.
- Void for vagueness — Because the language of the will is open to various interpretations, it is impossible to determine what the testator actually intended. In these instances, the court will be asked to interpret the will’s true meaning.
When challenges occur, the court must rule on the validity of the will. A judge could enforce the will or invalidate it in whole or in part. At Peggs Wheeler, LC, we recognize that the emotional pain from a loved one’s death is difficult enough. That’s why you deserve compassionate attorneys able to handle your legal needs with the utmost professionalism. However, we are committed to delivery of more than just our understanding and compassion. We are also committed to helping you toward a meaningful solution by providing:
- Thorough communication — Even when an estate is being handled correctly, poor organization and communication can tie things up. We ensure that every beneficiary is notified in a clear manner of each transaction pertaining to the property in question. These communications will form a solid narrative.
- Strong litigation counsel — In the event that court proceedings are necessary, we will provide determined advocacy in pursuit of a favorable decision that reflects the decedent’s true intentions.
Our attorneys are committed to respecting and advocating for our client’s objectives with the aim toward achieving favorable results.
Contact a Kansas probate law firm for a free initial consultation
Peggs Wheeler, LC is a Kansas law firm assisting individuals and families with probate, estate planning and will disputes. We also represent clients in a wide range of civil litigation matters. Call 316-512-7853 or contact us online to schedule a meeting at our Wichita office.