New Mexico Estate Litigation Attorneys

Albuquerque firm represents parties in all types of probate conflicts

Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A. in Albuquerque regularly represents individuals and entities in disputes and litigation involving the administration of estates and trusts. We handle a variety of these claims, including trust and estate disputes where a breach of fiduciary duty is alleged or a disagreement exists over the interpretation of language in a legal instrument. Our attorneys also represent individuals and entities in challenges to the validity of instruments such as wills and will codicils, trusts and trust amendments and beneficiary designations based on claims of undue influence and lack of capacity.

Understanding estate litigation

Estate litigation can arise from many different factors ranging from differing views over the intentions of the deceased person to disputes over the way an estate has been administered. These types of legal disputes can become emotionally charged and difficult to resolve. While we try in many cases to resolve these disputes before they become thoroughly entrenched, when they cannot be resolved outside of the court process, we advocate for petitioners or respondents in all district courts throughout New Mexico as well as in New Mexico's appellate courts.  In addition to serving in the advocacy role, some of our attorneys also serve in the role of neutral mediators to assist parties in resolving their disputes.

Common estate disputes

Various types of allegations can give rise to a will contest. Claims that are common in estate litigation include:

  • Errors or legal defects in the document — A will is a legal document that must conform to the rules set forth in New Mexico law. Unless a will is written, properly signed and witnessed, a court will not enforce its terms. There are also situations where the legal requirements are satisfied, but a potential beneficiary believes that the will contains a clear error, such as an incorrect name or a mistake as to the property described in the instrument.
  • Undue influence — Frequently, a last will and testament is created when someone is elderly or suffering from a serious medical condition. These people might be vulnerable to improper influences from people who are close to them, such as family members and caregivers. If you suspect that the terms of a will, trust, deed or other donative instrument are the result of undue influence, our firm can assist you in determining whether legal action to set aside the instrument is warranted.
  • Lack of capacity — Individuals executing governing instruments such as wills, deeds, trusts, and beneficiary designations must have legal capacity to do so. Evidence that a person signing such a document was unable to understand the nature of the instrument being signed could lead a court to set the instrument aside. Our attorneys can help you understand whether legal action to invalidate such an instrument based on lack of capacity is warranted under the facts and circumstances of the case.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty — The personal representative of an estate or the trustee of a trust has a fiduciary obligation to administer those estates according to the terms of the governing instruments and applicable law. The law governing fiduciary duty is rapidly growing in New Mexico and in jurisdictions across the United States in part due to the widespread use of revocable trusts as will substitutes. Our attorneys have vast experience litigating breach of fiduciary duty claims in estates and trusts with values ranging from small amounts to tens of millions of dollars.

As accomplished trust and estate litigators, we have exceptional insight into these matters and can quickly assess whether a potential claim has merit.

Why hire a trust and estate litigation attorney?

Any legal dispute presents challenges, but estate litigation can be especially burdensome. In many of these cases, adversaries have longstanding relationships and emotions can run high. Retaining qualified legal counsel helps you focus on the essential legal issues and protect your legal interests while working to see that the testator’s directions are honored. Our firm employs some of the most experienced trust and estate litigation attorneys in the State of New Mexico. 

Contact a New Mexico estate litigation attorney to schedule a consultation

Hurley, Toevs, Styles, Hamblin & Panter, P.A. in Albuquerque represents clients in all types of New Mexico trust and estate litigation cases. You can set up a meeting regarding your probate dispute by calling 505-888-1188 or contacting us online.