Disputes involving the administration of a probate estate or a trust have become increasingly common. The fiduciary duties imposed by statute and common law place significant burdens on personal representatives (executors) and trustees to gather assets, identify and properly address creditor claims, safeguard and invest the assets under their control, provide fiduciary accountings to beneficiaries, pay the proper taxes, and distribute assets to the beneficiaries in a timely manner. Interwoven among these duties are real estate issues, volatile investment markets, and resentful beneficiaries, each of which raise the stakes significantly for both a fiduciary and a beneficiary.
Litigation cases involving wills and trusts can also involve allegations regarding the validity of a will or trust due to a lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence of the individual when he or she signed the instrument, or can simply revolve around an unclear, inadequate, or untimely estate or trust accounting. Trust terminations, trustee or personal representative removal, curator appointments, trust situs change, will and trust judicial interpretations, and trust modifications are becoming increasingly common in the litigation arena. In short, the duties of a fiduciary are detailed and complex, and the beneficiaries have significant rights. Our experience addressing the rights and duties of personal representatives, trustees (including corporate trustees), beneficiaries, and creditors filing claims in estates equip our firm to efficiently and intelligently advise you regarding the merits of litigation and its potential resolution in court or through a thoughtful and carefully crafted settlement.