Jury Trials in Probate
Our firm regularly demands jury trials in probate matters. There are a variety of reasons for doing so, including the simple fact that it is a constitutional right of all citizens to preserve and guarantee a trial by jury in all proceedings. Also important is the fact that jury trials are vital to maintaining the public’s confidence and trust in our judicial system. The value of jury trials in probate has become even more critical with the dramatic decline in the number of jury trials in recent years.
One of the evolving and developing areas of the law that assists probate litigators in providing access to jury trials is the theory of liability founded in what is referred to as “tortious interference with an inheritance” or “intentional interference with an expectancy.” Our firm regularly handles these cases on behalf of relatives who have been victimized by some unscrupulous person who has interfered with an elderly loved one’s traditional testamentary wishes. The unscrupulous conduct takes many forms, but typically involves the changing of the title and ownership of assets using a power of attorney, assisting an elderly person with the preparation of a new will, or the changing of bank accounts so that the elderly person’s assets do not pass to the family upon death.
These actions are for money damages and persons who make these claims are guaranteed a right to a jury trial under the state constitution.