Disputes over the distribution of assets, execution of a will or mismanagement of a trust often come with multiple layers of complexity:
- The first is the obvious challenge of understanding the legal issues that are the grounds for the dispute.
- A second layer is often the emotional upheaval that comes with the death of a loved one and the desire to honor the valued relationship an heir had with the deceased.
At Bennett & Erdman, we represent beneficiaries, executors and trustees in negotiations and in court as they seek a resolution to a probate dispute, including issues of competency of the decedent, as well as, a problem with a trust or issues of unfair treatment in a will.
Do you want to discuss your case with one of our attorneys? Please complete our online contact form.
Types of Disputes We Handle
We assist clients with a wide range of estate litigation matters:
Will and trust disputes: Most will and trust contests result from claims by an heir that a will or trust is invalid because:
- The person who created or changed the will or trust was impaired and therefore did not have the capacity to create a legally valid document (testamentary capacity), or
The person who created or changed the will or trust was unduly influenced by another party (such as a caregiver, a family member, or a religious leader). While a person can name anyone as a beneficiary in a will or trust, heirs sometimes wish to contest and disqualify a named beneficiary because of their proximity and influence.
- In some cases, the deceased made a significant pledge or promise has been made to a charity, church or school, which had not yet been fulfilled or was to be put into effect after death. The recipient may need legal help to obtain the gift; sometimes heirs contest such gifts.
Probate problems: Beneficiaries sometimes bring suit against the executor of an estate for breach of fiduciary claiming that the value of the estate was reduced because of decisions made by the executor. They may challenge the validity of creditor claims that were paid from the estate. They may challenge the valuation of assets of the estate that were sold in order for the proceeds to be distributed.
Similarly, a creditor of the estate may bring a claim against the executor to obtain payment of a debt owed. We represent both executors and creditors in such suits.
Trusts mismanagement: The trustees of a trust have a substantial fiduciary duty to protect and grow the assets of a trust. Financial misconduct, such as using or investing the assets of the trust in order to gain personal financial benefits or failing to distribute funds from the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust, can result in estate litigation. We have been successful in getting trustees removed by the court for financial misconduct or trustee negligence.
We protect the interests of beneficiaries, helping them to secure the financial and property interests that are legally due to them. We also defend executors accused of mismanagement of the probate process and trustees accused of mismanagement of a trust.
Questions? Contact Us Today.
To discuss your probate-related matter with one of our attorneys, please call 877-820-6534.