What canI do about false statements made about me in probate court?

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What canI do about false statements made about me in probate court?

I was left sole executor of an estate. Then a relative popped up after over a 20 year absence. This person was fully and intentionally left out of the trust. They then made a complete list of libelous statements in a effort to get the trust nullified. My lawyer did not wish to fight so I was told to settle or that I could lose all assets left to me and become homeless. This is also what the judge stated at settlement. Those untruths told by the relative/plaintiff were never looked into and this has caused me to be told that I used unintentional undo influence over decedent. I felt forced into settlement. I’m innocent. What can I do?

Asked on March 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can file a complaint against your lawyer for malpractice because if indeed these were complete falsehoods and your lawyer represented you and not the estate, then he or she should have zealously advocated for you.  However, if the lawyer you speak of is actually the estate's lawyer, perhaps settlement would have been the less costly route and would have been more to the benefit of the estate by preserving as many assets as possible.  Statements told in court are usually consider protected under the theory of absolute privilege. However, if you can prove those statements are false (and you have proof, not just your word), then a simple phone call to your lawyer (not the estate's) will help determine if claiming perjury is a good route (could rise to the person being prosecuted for perjury on the stand) and perhaps a lawsuit by the estate thereafter for reimbursement plus costs.


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