Probate and Trust Litigation

The primary focus of our law firm is resolving probate and trust disputes, with or without court litigation. These cases can include any issues arising from the administration of a probate estate or a trust as well as the relationships between the beneficiaries and the executor or trustee. The disputes can arise immediately upon a death, relating to burial issues, immediate asset possession, or locating the original will or trust. Issues can arise regarding pre-death transfers of assets or regarding mental capacity and undue influence issues with planning documents that may have been signed.

A common type of probate litigation involves will contests, based either upon a claim of “undue influence” in creating the document or “lack of mental capacity” when signing the document.Challenges can also arise during the administration of an estate or a trust. Accountings and information can be pursued on behalf of beneficiaries, based upon the duties owed by every fiduciary. Compensation challenges are sometimes necessary. In some cases, the executor or trustee can be removed or surcharged by court order. The firm also defends trustees and executors in these types of cases, depending upon the facts.

All probate litigation claims or defenses are carefully investigated and evaluated by our office from the outset to fully advise the client. Because litigation can be unpredictable and costly, we pursue efforts to mediate or resolve the issues before trial when appropriate.

In some cases, our firm is retained as co-counsel during a probate or trust administration to represent the executor or trustee in a specific litigated dispute.

Cases include:

·         Enforcing beneficiaries’ rights

·         Will and trust contests (such as “undue influence” claims or mental capacity challenges)

·         Trust administration disputes

·         Removal of personal representative

·         Removal of trustee

·         Compensation disputes

·         Breach of trust actions

·         Any other disputes arising in probate or trust administration