What Happens When a Family Member Contests a Will?

What Happens When a Family Member Contests a Will?

When a loved one passes away, the situation is already difficult enough. Any extra stress can make a difficult position even harder.

This is especially true when it comes to the will. When family members contest the will, it can put serious strains on relationships.

There are a few reasons why family members can and will contest this process. This article will cover why it can happen and what the outcomes could potentially be.

Who Can Contest the Will?

There are only certain parties that can contest a will. Many people think that any family member can contest the will, but this isn’t true. They must have legal grounds to take this action with the courts.

The following individuals can contest the will:

  • Family members already named in the will
  • Previous beneficiaries who were included at a point in time but were written out
  • Anyone not named in the will but who would otherwise be eligible based on intestacy laws

What happens when a will is contested?

For the will to be contested, there must be proper legal grounds for the process to move forward. The following section explains the situation.

What Must Happen for the Will to Be Contested?

The following must happen for the will to be contested.

Incomplete Will

If the individual believes the will is faulty or incomplete, the case may move forward. However, certain requirements must be met in this situation.

When the will wasn’t signed without the right witnesses, the case may move forward if there are missing signatures. Additionally, it may also be contested if important information is missing from the will.

Mentally Incapable

If the court finds that the person who wrote the will was not mentally capable, it may be contested. The person who wrote the will must be able to understand their assets and relationships with the people written into the will.


Finally, if the individual who wrote the will was illegally influenced into signing it, this is grounds for the will to be contested. If the deceased was forced or threatened to write the will – or lied to in any way, the contest may move forward.

It’s important to avoid a will becoming contested at all costs. In certain situations, the will is ruled invalid and thrown out. Nobody wins when this happens, and the result is usually bad blood between family members. This can end up causing scars that never heal and in the end, is a situation that benefits nobody.

We would love to help; our attorneys have years of experience drawing up Will’s & Trust plans for clients of all ages and situations. Give us a call to get started today.

Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

Can You Remove Someone from a Deed Without Their Knowledge?

When two individuals are both present on the same deed, they have equal rights to the property in question. Decisions must be made jointly, and no one person has a majority say in any matter regarding the deed.

Many people question whether one party has the power to remove the other from a deed. In this article, we’ll discuss whether this is possible and what type of ramifications take place as a result.

If you own property jointly with someone, you might want to read this article. It’s important to protect yourself from potentially damaging situations when you’re invested in property with anybody.

Illegal Removal

Anyone can be removed from a deed without consent from the other party. However, in most cases, this is done illegally.

When these situations take place, the most common occurrence is a forgery of an individual’s signature. However, when this happens, it’s easily identified by the court, and the situation will be reversed.

It’s important to note that certain LEGAL situations may include the removal of a party from a deed. However, this must be done through a court order.

Legal Removal

The following situations are examples of when a person can be legally removed from a deed without their consent.

  • If the property is foreclosed on
  • If partition takes place
  • If the government seizes all or part of the property for non-payment of taxes
  • Criminal forfeiture through things like drug cases and other charges
  • Eminent domain

If you believe that you are potentially part of any of these situations, you must contract the services of an attorney immediately. This is especially true if you’re the party being removed from the deed.

It’s possible that with the right counsel and the situation surrounding the matter, the decision for removal may be reversed. Alternatively, if you’re the party left on the deed, you need to know how to move forward to keep your claim on the property.

It may be a situation that requires simple action on your part, and an attorney can help you navigate the situation until you come to a resolution.

If you receive a notice for any of the situations mentioned above, your first course of action should be to contact your lawyer, then the county. Obtaining the information surrounding the situation could be the only way to preserve the property.

The last thing you want to do is lose your rights to a house or piece of land, especially through no fault of your own.

Using Your Attorney to Settle Property Line Disputes

Using Your Attorney to Settle Property Line Disputes

When it comes to property law, the potential outcome is all in the details. The specifics of the case will set the table for things to come, and it’s important to have the right information and proof to receive a favorable outcome.

If you have a neighbor giving you trouble regarding the property, you should consider contacting your lawyer just to be prepared. It’s possible they could move forward with legal action at any time, especially if you’ve built anything close to the property lines.

Using your attorney for these situations will leave you better prepared, and in these situations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to have a lawyer for property line disputes.

Why Would Your Neighbor Take You to Court for Property Line Disputes?

There are several reasons your neighbor could take you to property court. Sometimes these situations may seem trivial – but normally, they’re well within their rights.

It’s not uncommon for these cases to be a headache more than anything, and often the reason for the court case is generally a waste of time. However, you still need to show up to prove your case.

Neighbors may take these cases to court for the following:

  • If something you’ve built extends even a few inches over the property line
  • If you have trees or other landscaping that extend over the property line
  • If you’ve cut down a tree or a limb on their property, thinking it was yours

You might be asking how your lawyer can help with these situations.

Contact Your Attorney

Your attorney can help by documenting the situation in great detail. They will pair this documentation with property information obtained through the county that has detailed maps outlining the boundaries.

Additionally, your attorney will be well-versed in property law and what you can and can’t get away with, and how much legal ground your neighbor has to stand on.

Evidence and Documentation

Equipped with things like photos, detailed maps, as well as deeds, your lawyer will attend court and make a case for you. Whenever items like this are introduced professionally, it looks good on your part.

This is why it’s always critical to have a quality attorney who is well-prepared for the case. If the judge rules in your favor, you can potentially avoid paying fines and even losing small portions of your property to cover damage to the neighbor’s land. In the end, these court cases may be a headache, but they’re worth showing up to and proving your point if for nothing else, to keep a troublesome neighbor off your back. Contact the professionals at Bell & Shah Law, we can help you navigate the process of your home’s property line and what the steps are to take in the future.

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

Long Term Leases and Property Transfers

In real estate, long-term property lease situations (30–99 years, with options for lease extensions) are typically referred to as ground leases. Ground leases and subsequent property transfers can be especially tricky for several reasons.

The specifics of a ground lease are as follows: A landowner leases a piece of property (with no improvements or excavations made to the land) to a tenant. The tenant is allowed to construct a building of any form on the land during the lease agreement.

Improvements and Depreciation

Normally, during fresh construction on untouched land certain excavation changes must be made to prepare the land for subsequent building. The problem is that when excavation takes place the improvements will cause an increase in the property value.

What happens in these situations?

During the specific terms of the ground lease, any improvements made to the land will be owned outright by the tenant. The improvements will be depreciated from the rent. The improvements will transfer to the property owner at the end of the rental term.

In rare situations, the landowner will require the tenant to remove the improvements made to the land that satisfy the construction requirements.

During ground lease situations, the landlords and tenants can potentially reap the benefits in the occurrence of the former situation. Depending on how much value was accrued during the lease term, both parties stand to profit a substantial amount from these improvements.

No Longer Tax-Free

In the past, these transactions weren’t grounds for taxation. This was recognized as a type of tax-free loophole that existed between property owners and renters. However, this changed in most states around 2014, depending on the specific geographic location.

If you’re a current landowner who takes place in the beneficial interest of a land transfer that takes place after a lease of 30 years or more (specifically targeting ground leases), you’ll have to pay taxes at a rate of 50 cents for every $500 of property value added to the land during the leasing term.

In many locations, not only are you required to pay a tax on the added value but an additional transfer tax for the mere creation of a ground lease. Additionally, the situation becomes more complicated when a mortgage is involved on the part of the tenant to finance the construction of the building.

If you’re a landowner or tenant involved in a ground lease, it’s important to be aware of the laws regarding these taxes in your location. Each state is unique in the figures and specifics surrounding these situations, and being aware is critical for compliance.

Turn to the experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law when you have any type of real estate attorney questions. We will put our years of experience to work for you and ensure you and your real estate are properly represented.

Considerations to Make for Investing During the Pandemic Era

Considerations to Make for Investing During the Pandemic Era

The pandemic era has forced most of us to analyze how we approach almost every routine in our lives. No area has been spared – from how we consume, participate in social situations, visit family and friends, even to how we work.

Changes in how we consume directly affect other areas, such as the supply chain, pricing, and – most importantly for shareholders and stock owners – how we invest our money.

The Long and Short of Things

Anyone who’s paid attention to the news for the last two years has almost certainly noticed the impact Covid has made on current stock market trends. Initially, a volatile and unpredictable market destroyed many businesses, taking many misfortunate investors’ portfolios with them.

However, as the world became accustomed to lockdowns and social distancing, clear leaders remained in the form of organizations that were able to adapt. Companies that could restructure their entire business plan and become efficient in operating and providing on a remote basis emerged victoriously.

While this allowed some to recoup and, in some cases, even thrive, an unpredictable global economy must still be approached with caution. But what about long-term investments?

Long-Term Strategies

Global catastrophes and historical events have a tendency to shape the way we approach spending and investing. The Covid pandemic has not altered this trend and, in some ways, has put an exclamation point on these shifts more than any other time in history.

Long-term investors must be acutely aware of these types of shifts or run the risk of losing their nest eggs and the portfolios they’ve worked so hard to construct. The most effective strategy is to put short-term market changes under the microscope and separate the pretenders from the contenders to make efficient predictions for the future.

Consider the following when pressing forward with your investment decisions.

Market Changes

When developing your strategy, pay attention to things that have changed with authority. Industries that have had their entire landscape completely transformed look to be the most solid picks for a long-term win:

  • The medical industry has made huge changes to the way people receive healthcare. Betting big on things such as telehealth could prove to be a smart move.
  • Organizations that allow bending for remote work (cybersecurity, sales, marketing, cloud-based, and etc.) should continue to gain momentum.
  • Any company that allows online retail consumption with either direct or third-party delivery (online grocery, Wal-Mart, Amazon) will be safe for your long-term strategy.

While some companies made temporary changes that made them pretenders, others restructured their entire gameplan to hold on for the long haul. Learning how to discern between these two will be the difference between victory and defeat for your long-term portfolio.

The experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law are available when you have any type of legal business need. We will put our experience to work for you and ensure you and your employees are properly represented.

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