Probate and Trust Litigation
The firm represents clients in disputes and litigation related to probate, estate administration, trusts, and fiduciary duties. Such matters include:
Will contests - A decedent’s Will may not be valid for a number of reasons. The firm represents both plaintiffs seeking to show the Will of a decedent is not valid, and defendants seeking to show a Will is valid. Prompt action is essential where there are questions regarding the validity of a Will, since delay may significantly adversely your rights.
Breach of fiduciary duty - A trustee is charged with taking actions only in the interest of the beneficiaries of a trust; this is called a fiduciary duty. Similarly, an executor or administrator has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries and others interested in the estate of a decedent. Where a fiduciary fails to act in the way required, he or she may be held liable for the damages to the beneficiary or other interested party. We represent beneficiaries seeking to hold fiduciaries accountable, and defend fiduciaries from such claims.
Will construction and interpretation - Even where a Will is valid, it may be subject to differing interpretation that affect who receives the decedent’s property and how they receive it. We represent both personal representatives seeking to correctly fulfill the wishes of a testator, and beneficiaries that may be affected by such interpretation.
Administration of decedents’ estates - We represent not only the personal representatives of estates, but also beneficiaries whose interests may be affected by the determination of the interest of a beneficiary, the inclusion or exclusion of property, the characterization of property of the decedent, and the handling of claims against the estate.
Claims against decedents’ estates - We represent clients who have claims against estates. The claims procedure can be very complex, and has numerous deadlines and required actions to obtain payment. Prompt action is essential to maximize the probability of collecting money or property you are owed by a decedent’s estate.
Insurance and account beneficiary contests - Even where valid on the surface, some life insurance and account beneficiary designations may be invalid if a decedent is improperly influenced to make the beneficiary designation. We represent clients in these types of cases.