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Trust & Will Controversies

The Law Office of Daniel J. Cooper has more than 35 years of experience litigating trust and will controversies

Probate disputes
Even in apparently straightforward probate actions, there are sometimes disputes between heirs. Mr. Cooper’s professional experience can help you to navigate through these disputes, paying careful attention to the requirements of the law, so as to maximize the estate’s interests. When possible, Mr. Cooper prefers to negotiate amicably with opposing parties, but when necessary, he vigorously defends his client’s interests and defends their rights before the court.

The death of a loved one is always a painful experience. Unfortunately, that pain is too often compounded by disputes that arise between beneficiaries and heirs. If you suspect that a trust and will do not reflect what you know to be the wishes of the decedent, you have the right to challenge the proceedings in probate court. The Law Offices of Daniel J. Cooper represents aggrieved parties in probate cases. We are ready to assist you with inheritance disputes arising from:

  • Lack of capacity
  • Undue influence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty

Preventing exploitation of the elderly
Many probate disputes stem from suspicions that a particular individual took advantage of the declining health, dementia or a lack of capacity of the deceased to execute lawfully a trust and will before they died.  These individuals can exercise undue influence over the incapacitated individual when they are not able to resist it.  When the capacity of an individual comes into question, any legal documents executed while they are in this condition can become suspect.  If it can be shown that an individual exercised undue influence over the decedent while they were in a diminished state, the court may determine that any documents executed at that time are invalid. Mr. Cooper is familiar with such cases and knows what kind of evidence is necessary to make a showing of undue influence or lack of capacity.

Demanding accountability and fairness
The individual chosen to be the personal representative of the estate (executor or administrator), or to hold power of attorney (agent), has a fiduciary duty to dispatch his or her obligations professionally and in accordance with the wishes of the decedent. Any deliberate fraud or negligence in accounting for assets that can be proved can and should be challenged in probate court. Mr. Cooper has many years of experience with estate matters and can form a quick and accurate appraisal of whether matters are being handled competently and honestly.

Do not expect success if you handle objections yourself
Many beneficiaries and heirs hesitate to hire an attorney because they trust the probate court to do automatically what is fair, and because of it, they think they can avoid what they deem to be an unnecessary expense. However, there are facts you should consider before attempting to handle a probate issue yourself without counsel:

  • The court is not an investigative body.
  • The court will entertain an issue only if you can provide evidence of its existence.
  • You may present allegations, but without a firm knowledge of what the law requires, you may not be able to convince the court of their existence or relevance.
  • Additionally, there may be issues that may be in your favor that you are not aware of and could possibly raise, and this requires the experience of someone who can see them quickly.

Mr. Cooper is a seasoned attorney who has been through many probate negotiations and frequently produces a settlement that satisfies all parties and enables the proceedings to move forward, at less cost to the estate.

Free Initial Consultation
Do not add to your emotional loss by losing out on your loved one’s legacy. To schedule a free initial consultation, call the Law Offices of Daniel J. Cooper at (949) 859-8456 in Orange County, or (951) 676-1896 in Riverside County today, or contact the firm online.