As someone visiting a Rochester estate planning lawyer for the first time, there are a lot of legal ideas, such as the statute of limitations, that you might’ve heard about but aren’t exactly sure how they work. When it comes to legal terms, concepts, and issues, it’s always best to speak to your estate planning attorney about any questions you have. Until then, we are going to take a look at what a statute of limitations is, how it works, and why you probably do not need to worry about it.
Statute of Limitations
The idea of a statute of limitations is relatively simple. Under these laws, people who want to begin a lawsuit have a limited amount of time in which to act. For example, if you suffer an injury because of product you purchase malfunctions, you only have a certain amount of time to file your lawsuit. Depending on the state in which you live and the particular circumstances surrounding your lawsuit, the amount of time you have can differ significantly.
Estate Planning and the Statute of Limitations
Unlike filing a lawsuit, creating an estate plan usually doesn’t involve going to court and accusing someone else of all wrongdoing. When you and your attorney create an estate plan, what you will do is create different documents that will protect your choices and your property. The vast majority of people who create an estate plan never have to go to court, much less consider the possibility of suing someone else.
Estate Litigation and the Statute of Limitations
However, there is one significant exception to the general principle that creating an estate plan doesn’t involve the statute of limitations. This exception is when you are considering filing a lawsuit, or when someone else sues you. These kinds of lawsuits are generally referred to as estate litigation.
Estate litigation can arise for a wide number of reasons. For example, someone who wants to challenge the validity of someone else’s last will and testament can do so by filing a lawsuit. Others who might want to challenge the decisions a trustee makes can also engage in estate litigation to have the trustee remove or replaced.
Any time you are considering any kind of estate litigation, or have been sued because of an estate planning issue, the statute of limitations is an important issue that you need to consider. Because the statute of limitations imposes such a strict time limit, it’s important that you talk to an attorney any time you have an estate litigation question. Failing to act in time can be a serious mistake.