There are different types of claims or petitions that can be filed with the Probate Court. Here are some examples:
WILL OR TRUST CONTEST
An otherwise valid will or trust could be attacked by a dissatisfied beneficiary or heir of the author, generally on the grounds that the author was forced, coerced or intimidated into signing it or was incompetent at the time of signing the document(s).
PETITION TO COMPEL ACCOUNTING
In the event that there is a question or concern with regard to the management of an estate or trust, a beneficiary or, in some cases, an interested party may request the Probate Court to compel an accounting from the Personal Representative of the estate or Trustee. An accounting would consist of an inventory of all estate or trust assets with its appraised value, receipts, disbursements, Trustee’s or Personal Representative’s fees, attorney’s fees, etc. This is a very useful tool in the event that a beneficiary or an interested party is concerned with the manner in which an estate or trust is managed.
PETITION FOR REMOVAL OF PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OR OF TRUSTEE
In the event that there is gross mismanagement by the Personal Representative of the estate or by the Trustee, a beneficiary or, in some cases, an interested party can request the Probate Court for their removal from office.
PETITION FOR DETERMINATION OF PROPERTY
In cases where there is a dispute as to the ownership of a particular asset, a Personal Representative or a Trustee can request the Court for its determination. In other cases, an asset of the decedent may have been inadvertently left outside of his or her trust and, if there is sufficient showing that the decedent intended for it to be a trust asset, the Trustee can request the Probate Court to include said asset in the trust.
A creditor of the decedent can bring a claim against the decedent’s estate or trust within a period of time prescribed by law. The claim could be based on a money debt, judgments against the decedent, a contractual obligation entered into by the decedent, unpaid spousal or child support, or unpaid services rendered by a caregiver.