Will, Probate and Trust Cases

Pepper Law, PLC limits its will, probate and trust work to probate and trust litigation matters of significant value. If you need to probate a will, have a will or trust drafted, or have another type of routine probate or trust matter, we will be glad to refer you to another lawyer or law firm. If you need a Nashville probate litigation lawyer, Pepper Law, PLC can provide you with experienced representation in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.

For many serious probate and trust litigation matters, a client’s outcome will depend on the trial experience and trial skills of his or her lawyer. We have a track record of successes in will, probate and trust litigation. Many “probate lawyers,” or “estate lawyers” do not have the skills and experience to handle jury trials or even bench trials of will contest cases. We have that experience, and it can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. We handle the following types of cases:

Will Contest Cases

In Tennessee, either party to a will contest case is entitled to a jury trial. A will may be challenged on the basis that the decedent (referred to as the "testator") was not of sufficiently sound mind at the time he or she executed his or her will to enable the decedent to know and to understand what he or she was doing. When a will, or trust document, is challenged on this basis, such a challenge may be referred to as a challenge on grounds of competency or testamentary capacity. A will may also be challenged on the basis that its execution was procured through fraud or undue influence. A legal action or lawsuit where a will is challenged is referred to as "will contest." The Nashville probate litigation lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC handle will contest cases in Nashville and throughout Tennessee.

In order to determine whether or not a will should be declared invalid because the decedent (or testator) was not of sound mind, a jury may consider such factors as physical weakness, disease, old age, and failing mind or memory. In will contest cases where a will is challenged on the basis of undue influence, once a "confidential relationship" has been shown between the decedent and the party who allegedly exercised the undue influence, a significant legal shift takes place. If a person is determined to have had a confidential relationship with the decedent, that person must essentially prove, by "clear and convincing evidence," that the will was not the result of undue influence. The above rules about undue influence, confidential relationships, and the clear and convincing standard also apply to transfers made by persons still living and to pre-death (inter vivos) asset transfers.

In some cases, we agree to represent clients in these types of cases on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee representation arrangement, we agree that we will not receive a fee unless and until money is recovered. Some will, probate and trust litigation we are only able to handle on an hourly pay basis or on a mixed contingency/hourly pay basis. If you need to consult with a probate litigation lawyer about a matter in Nashville or any part of Tennessee, Pepper Law, PLC will provide a free initial consultation.