Workers’ compensation is a no fault system by which employers guarantee payments to employees injured on the job, while employees relinquish the right to sue employers for work-related injuries. When employees suffer work related injuries, they should notify their employers as soon as possible and ask for a claim from to fill out. If the claim is accepted, benefits should commence promptly. If the claim is partly or completely denied, an employee can have it reviewed by the workers’ compensation appeals board. And, an employee can sue the workers’ compensation appeals board if he or she does not agree with its decision, and have the extent of his or her disability and the amount of benefits decided in court.
While I would encourage an injured employee to protect his rights under workers’ compensation, and it is usually true that someone truly injured is under compensated for their loss, I do admit that this is a litigious country. This is especially true with an estranged child, or slighted heir. They will sue out of principal or sometimes spite. The payoff is often a nuisance settlement paid to end the torment. Sometimes there is something wrong with the drafting of the will or trust, or the ability of the will or trust makers to execute the testamentary document.
That is why it is very important for the client to tell the probate, will and trust attorney the history and background of the family. Sometimes when an estate is large, it is better to leave all of the usual objects of the will or trust maker’s bounty something, instead of disinheriting someone. For example, an estranged child, might be left a bequest, instead of written out of the estate. If they are left enough that they would be hesitant to watch it taken away they may not protest the will or trust. I once remember a case where a large estate was left mostly to one heir. Smaller, yet significant, bequests were left to other heirs. These heirs felt something was done underhanded. They wanted to file a challenge. Yet the will and trust contained a strong no contest clause. If a probate contest to the validity of the will or trust is prosecuted then if the contest is lost, the protesting heirs forfeit the bequest they would have otherwise received. When the heirs realized that if they did not win their challenge that they would not receive the bequest, they reconsidered. They ultimately did not file a challenge.
Nothing is worse than not telling your probate, will and trust attorney about the family history. Maybe you were divorced 40 years ago. Maybe the child from that marriage was never a part of your life and you were never a part of their life. Yet your will and trust needs to accurately explain your family history and your intentions. If you decide, I don’t want to leave anything to that child. Since Oklahoma is one of the states where you are allowed to disinherit a child or grandchild or other issue, then your will and trust needs to state your intent in unambiguous language to intentionally omit any bequest from your will or trust, or both, for the child, and for his or her children, issue and descendants. An experienced probate, will and trust attorney is a wonderful blessing! So much future trouble is avoided by expertly drafted documents.
Sometimes litigation is required to get justice. My law associate and myself several years previously handled a suit against a probate and trust estate. We alleged undue influence. At the trial we proved that the distant relative who obtained a power of attorney locked out the family, set up security cameras, refused our clients access to and visitation with their elderly grandmother, brought in a will and trust attorney who caused a new will and trust to be put in place. This new will and trust was a radical departure from the previous one. The court set it aside and justice prevailed. What has always troubled me about the case is that the will and trust lawyer actually went to the home and behind locked doors caused the new will and trust to be signed. There really is no cure for lack of common sense and experience. This lawyer I am sure this lawyer today would do things differently. The thing is, you do not want to the be the case that a lawyer learns on. Seek out an experienced probate, will and trust attorney.
If you need an experienced probate, will and trust attorney, contact Brent D. Coldiron, attorney at law, 1800 E. Memorial Road, Suite 106, Oklahoma City, OK 73131 or 2801 Parklawn Drive, Suite 503, Midwest City, OK 73110; telephone (405) 478-5655 and 737-2244. Brent has over 41 years experience handling a variety of legal matters, including probates, will, trusts, business formation, elder law, Medicaid qualification for nursing home care, corporations, limited liability companies, and guardianships. Give Brent a call, he knows what to do!