The Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy represents clients in estate litigation in Bucks County and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  Estate litigation is a process that follows when a person dies without a Will and the order of intestate succession is not obvious, or when a person dies with a Will and it is unclear or is suspected to be invalid. Wills could be contested if they were improperly executed, executed under undue influence or through fraud, or the testator did not have the proper mental capacity to execute the Will. If any of these factors are found, the Will may be invalidated. Other reasons for estate litigation involve creditors’ claims against the estate, previously unknown and after-born children (born after the execution of the Will): children that have not been provided for in the Will.

In Pennsylvania, strict rules of the Court of Common Pleas Orphans’ Court Division and Pennsylvania Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code determine the validity of Wills and their admissibility to probate, including on appeal from the Register of Wills.  Adequate preparation of a Will and the supervision of its execution by an attorney with the requisite statutory formalities give a Will the presumption of regularity and the presumption of due execution.  That is why it is so important to rely on an experienced professional for the preparation and execution of a Will.  Attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy prepares Wills for his clients and supervises the Will executions pursuant to the strict statutory standards to ensure the Wills withstand any challenge in the Orphans’ Court.

Common issues that frequently cause estate litigation are lost original Wills where a copy remains.  Although it is possible to admit a copy of a Will to probate, it must be done by overcoming the presumption of revocation by destruction of the original Will.  Likewise problematic are wills executed shortly before death, in a hospital or nursing home, and holographic wills. Holographic wills are wills written and signed by the testator without the help of an attorney. Such documents are frequently disregarded by the courts because they were prepared and executed without following proper procedure and formalities. Copies of wills where there is no original or wills executed shortly before death or in a health care institution are subject to allegations of fraud, duress, and lack of testamentary capacity.

Whenever a person changes long-standing testamentary dispositions shortly before his or her death, estate litigation may ensue over the question of what motivated that person to act.  Other common reasons for estate litigation include disagreements between siblings over the estates of their parents, challenges to the fairness of the distributions under the Will, such as in the case of uneven shares or omitted children, and disputes regarding the validity of the Will including allegations of fraud or undue influence.

The jurisdiction of the Orphans’ Court also extends to minors, incapacitated persons, decedents, trusts, and principals and agents under powers of attorney, so estate litigation (or proceedings) may be brought in Orphans’ Court concerning the estate of a minor, an account by a fiduciary, or a Guardianship petition for an incapacitated person, including those who were born incapacitated or became incapacitated through illness or injury.

Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy provides representation on behalf of clients involved in estate litigation and proceeding, including:

  • Probate and Administration of estates;
  • Fiduciary accounts and audits;
  • Testamentary and living trust proceedings;
  • Guardianship petitions and incapacitated person proceedings;
  • Estates of minors;
  • Wrongful death and survival proceedings and minor’s compromises;
  • Power of Attorney proceedings.

To contact attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy about a Will, probate or estate administration, estate litigation, or contesting a Will, please call our Feasterville, PA office at (215) 357-1400.  Bucks County, PA estate litigation attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy represents clients in estate litigation and Will contests in Orphans’ Court in Bucks County and Philadelphia, PA.

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