Estate & Fiduciary Litigation – Unpleasant and Complex
Family dynamics are complex, often change, and are almost always emotionally-charged – in either a negative or positive way. When it is perceived that an estate plan is inappropriate, or that representative, trustee, or fiduciary is acting irresponsibly or criminally as to an estate or probate matter, the response from family and friends involved is full of emotion and vitriol. But in order to find a remedy and see justice served, a legal advocate must rely on knowledge and skill in order to achieve a positive result in litigation. Estate and fiduciary litigation – often more generally referred to as part of probate litigation – is a unique practice skill which is based upon a deep understanding of a nuanced and complex area of the law. Gary Altman, Esq., attorney and Certified Financial Planner™ since 1988, possesses such a deep understanding of this area of the law that he often serves as an expert in probate litigation cases. With him and the rest of the Altman & Associates team on your side, you will benefit from the knowledge and experience necessary in estate and fiduciary litigation.
Reasons Estate and Fiduciary Litigation Become Necessary
Not all estate plans are drafted or executed with the same level of quality and effectiveness. Wills and trusts are often poorly drafted because they are pulled from an online form or drafted by an inexperienced or sloppy professional. Whether drafted poorly or not, such documents are often not kept up to date. Therefore, older estate planning documents may not account for changes in assets, family dynamics, or tax treatment. Additionally, the person (or persons) selected as representative, trustee, or fiduciary may have seemed like a good choice at the time. However, circumstance may have changed and this selection may have violated his or her obligations to the estate. Such a position is not necessarily easy for a lay-person to hold, and this is why professionals like attorneys, accountants, or other licensed professionals often take over some or all of these roles. In other cases, an estate plan might be well-executed and well-run, but one or more family members are convinced that they deserve a greater benefit from the estate. Whatever the case, the members of the estate do not deserve to suffer from inappropriate estate documents or poor representation of their interest. Likewise, responsible individuals overseeing an estate should not have to deal with unnecessary challenges.
Altman & Associates Can Help in a Number of Ways
Members of an estate often wonder what they can do if they are dissatisfied with some or all aspects of the estate. Conversely, many individuals charged with handling estates are not sure how to treat aggressive estate members who threaten litigation. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys offer counsel and advocacy regarding many types of estate and fiduciary litigation, including:
- Reversal, Modification, or Reformation of Trusts: “Irrevocable” trusts are often thought to be 100% irrevocable. But circumstances, along changes to state laws, might prove that the irrevocable trust is actually subject to significant changes or revocability. Our attorneys help you understand whether a trust is legitimately serving its purpose, or is in need of amendment.
- Challenges to Validity of Wills: The technical requirements for the physical form of a will often surprise people with their general simplicity. But the mental requirements for the drafter of a will are often far more complex – especially because the drafter of the will may execute a will, or an amendment to a will known as a codicil, later in life or while suffering from a condition which could cause death. Therefore, members of an estate often challenge a will based upon testamentary capacity, undue influence, mistake, fraud and duress, insane delusion, or a similar claim. Our estate and fiduciary litigation attorneys know how to understand and apply these standards to work for you.
- Removal of Personal Representative, Trustee, or Fiduciary: Individuals charged with handling the assets of an estate have a fiduciary responsibility to the estate and members of that estate. When it is perceived that this responsibility has not been met, deep, often family-driven disputes can easily arise. The emotional nature of these disputes often clouds the fundamental legal question of whether the fiduciary responsibility has been met. We offer unparalleled knowledge and experience in exploring this critical legal question and staunchly advocating for you.
Estate and Fiduciary Litigation Requires Experienced Counsel
When you need top-notch estate and fiduciary litigation advocacy, we are ready to serve you with strength and sensitivity to your situation. Estate and fiduciary litigation is never enjoyable, often emotional, and always extremely important to those involved. When considering or facing such litigation, schedule a consultation with us at one of our five convenient office locations to discuss how we can help.