Why You May Need to Hire a Trust and Estate Litigation Attorney
There are numerous reasons why you may need to hire an attorney who focuses on trust, estate and probate litigation matters. Family members frequently have reason to believe that a parent or other relative who suffers from dementia or other diminished capacity is not being cared for properly or is being taken advantage of financially by another person. Or, a person may learn after the death of a spouse, parent or other loved one that the decedent purportedly executed a new will, sometimes shortly before his or her death. The purported will may dramatically alter a long-standing estate plan that had provided for the spouse or children but now abruptly excludes them in favor of a virtual stranger.
These are among the many situations why clients hire me to represent them:
Will contests. Contesting a purported will offered for probate that was procured by undue influence or fraud, or that was prepared while the testator lacked capacity to execute a will, or when a will fails to comply with the formalities of Georgia law.
Defending will contests. Offering valid wills for probate and defending against any spurious claims that the will should not be admitted to probate.
Guardianships and conservatorships. Handling contested and uncontested proceedings to establish a guardian of the person and/or a conservator of the finances of an incapacitated adult or a minor child.
Disputes concerning administration of trusts or estates. Defending trustees wrongfully accused of trust mismanagement, or bringing claims against trustees who are not complying with their fiduciary duties. Similarly, defending executors and administrators who face challenges to their administration of estates, or bringing claims against executors or administrators who are not properly administering the estate.
Will construction cases. At times, wills are not drafted so that all provisions are clear and unambiguous, leading to serious questions about the testator’s intent. The appropriate court can construe the terms of a will, offering direction and protection for the executor or administrator.
Breach of fiduciary duty cases. Holding fiduciaries accountable for their conduct and redressing breaches of fiduciary duty, or conversely, defending fiduciaries who are unfairly accused of breaching their duties.
Judicial termination of trusts. Changes in circumstances may make the holding of assets in trust no longer beneficial or cost-effective for the beneficiaries. In that case, trusts may be terminated in accordance with applicable statutes.
Conversion cases. Civil claims to redress property that has been stolen or misappropriated.
In addition to the legal issues, estate and probate disputes typically involve complex and emotional personal dynamics between siblings, stepfamily members, in-laws, caretakers, friends of the family, or other family (or second family) members. I have many years of experience navigating these emotions, guiding clients through the legal process and to the desired legal outcome. In addition, I have significant experience in mediating and resolving probate and estate disputes prior to trial, saving costly expense. However, I am always prepared to take cases to trial and through the appellate process when necessary.
Contact me for a consultation if you are facing any of the above types of situations and learn about potential options for resolving your matter.