Estate and Trust Disputes

Unfortunately, estate and trust disputes are on the rise in this country. Those assets that are subject to probate have the potential to be disputed amongst the beneficiaries. Moreso, the beneficiaries of a will or trust often have concerns about the person elected to administer and distribute the estate in question. Mediation early in the process can help keep family affairs personal. Emotions can run high, and old family disagreements can often come to the forefront. Proactively involving trusted mediators and arbitrators can help your family move smoothly through the legal process of administering and distributing of the estate.

Disagreements on How an Estate is Managed

Most estate disputes arise over disagreements about whether or not the executor properly manages their duties of loyalty, disclosure, and reasonable care. The duty of loyalty is his or her duty to be utterly selfless to their responsibility. Loved ones may wonder if the executor borrowed assets without interest or if the executor funneled funds unnecessarily into his or her own business. The duty of disclosure, in contrast, encompasses disclosing all relevant material information. For example, some may wonder if the executor filed a complete and accurate accounting of all assets. Finally, the duty of reasonable care says that the fiduciary must exercise a relatively prudent standard of care. This pertains to paying taxes, gathering assets, and distributing to beneficiaries without undue loss or damage to the estate.

Trust and Estate disputes can be emotional.

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Trust Disputes Vary in Complexity

Trust disputes arise over a similar range of issues as estate disputes. However, because a trustee can exercise more authority over assets, depending on how the trust is set up, there can be a greater opportunity for legal involvement. For the same reason, there is more room for fraud. There are also occasions where the trustee is thought to have an unsound mind due to illness or injury (i.e. dementia). Additionally, a trust can be disputed when there is believed to have been undue influence wielded over the creator of the trust. For example, some may speculate that the benefactor was bribed or that he or she was forced to draft the trust while incoherent (i.e. on mind-altering medication or sick with an illness such as Alzheimer's Disease).

The Right Attorney Restores Peace Effectively 

Money and family dynamics all too often lead to legal disputes. When such disagreements arise, it is best to contact a trusted attorney. Depending on the circumstances, I highly recommend early involvement of a neutral mediator or arbitrator. It is often easier to solve a dispute early on before opinions have settled and hardened.

My commitment is to the peace of you and your loved ones. I bring my sense of honesty and integrity to my work, to help you feel that your needs are being met and to ensure that your sense of stress and tension is as minimal as possible. When a loved one passes, your priority should be grieving. Because I care, I will do my best to minimize the legal process without sacrificing your goals.

Let’s Work through Your Challenges Together

Family disagreements are stressful for everyone, especially after a loved one passes. I strive to solidify a resolution as early as possible so you can have space to grieve. Trying to settle a dispute without the assistance of a trained professional can only prolong the process. Let me help you and your family. Schedule a consultation below.