Estate litigation is a broad term but generally focuses on the alleged wrongdoing of either a corporation or an individual in a fiduciary role. Fiduciaries are held to a high standard of conduct and the often have immense power while managing money under durable powers of attorneys, trusts and other documents. When those powers are abused, or, in some cases, not used at all, it can become necessary to take legal action.
What makes Legacy Law Center unique in this area of the law is that we also have tremendous experience in preparing estate plan and thus we have specialized knowledge of estate planning, trusts and trust and probate administration. Issues that come up in estate litigation matters are often complex and center around these various aspects of fiduciary capacity.
Our firm has prepared complex estate plans and litigated the issues raised in the creation and administration of those plans. This experience is invaluable not only to our estate planning clients, but especially our estate litigation clients. We have trial experience in this area and can confidently and competently represent individuals, families, beneficiaries, executors, trustees, guardians, conservators and corporate fiduciaries such as banks and trust companies.
We have experience in the following types of cases:
Will and Trust Contests
Wills and trusts are the primary method by which people distribute their property at their deaths. As we all know, however, as people age they lose the necessary mental acuity to properly understand what they are signing. It is not all that uncommon for entirely new wills and/or trusts to be executed immediately before a person passes away and for the new estate plan to be completely different than the old one. If you find yourself in this situation, you must know your legal rights and how you can protect yourself. That’s where Legacy Law Center comes in.
Power of Attorney Litigation
A power of attorney is a document that gives an individual the authority to act on behalf of another. The person giving the authority is called a principal, and the person receiving the authority is called an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”. An attorney-in-fact may have the authority to take control of all aspects of the principal’s life, including managing finances and health care decisions. With this authority comes responsibility. An attorney-in-fact is required to act in the best interests of the principal at all times. He or she is a fiduciary of the highest order.
Unfortunately, sometimes this authority and responsibility is abused. Attorneys-in-fact may transfer funds into their own name, change insurance beneficiary designations and alter trusts. If you or someone you know has been taken advantage of by an attorney-in-fact, you need to take action immediately. We know your rights and we can protect them.
Contested Estate Matters
After an individual dies, an estate is opened in the probate court to administer the decedent’s estate. Sometimes, disputes arise as to what assets were owned by the decedent at the time he or she died. In addition, individuals or companies can file claims against the estate for the debts of the decedent or services rendered to the decedent before death. There are multiple deadlines and procedural hurdles which can impact claims or other disputes in probate court.
If an individual owes you money at the time he or she dies, or if you believe you are entitled to compensation from an estate for any reason, you need an attorney to protect your interests. We know how to handle contested estate matters. Sometimes these cases can be resolved amicably, and sometimes they must be tried before the court. We know probate law, and we try cases. With Legacy Law Center, you can be confident that your interests will be protected.
Trust and Trustee Disputes
A trust is a document which gives a person or organization (the trustee) control over money or property that is held for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). A trustee is a fiduciary who is required by law to act in the best interests of the beneficiary. Disputes often arise between trustees and beneficiaries about how a trust should be managed, who should manage it and what property and information a beneficiary is entitled to receive.
As a beneficiary, you have significant rights which you need to protect. As a trustee, you need to understand your duties and responsibilities to all trust beneficiaries. When a dispute arises between trustees and beneficiaries, you need someone who can get things resolved. At Legacy Law Center, we have handled all kinds of trust matters, including cases terminating trusts, removing trustees, suing trustees for mismanagement of trust funds and defending trustees against baseless lawsuits. We know the law, and we can help you.