Legal Disputes over Wills or Trusts often arise when family members who have drifted apart disagree over how the property of departed parents should be allocated or managed. Emotions often run high and sometimes, these disputes result in lasting turmoil that permanently harms the family structure. Attorneys providing assistance in such a dispute must be sensitive to the potential for hurt feelings and at the same time, fight to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients. With this in mind, often times mediation provides a mechanism for an outcome that results in the least amount of harm to permanent family relationships.
Wills and trusts may be improperly disputed by individuals who feel unfairly excluded from long sought after financial benefits. On the other hand, people sometimes make decisions about their estates while in conditions of Physical Infirmity or Emotional Confusion, when they are not truly Competent to decide such important matters.
In the worst case scenario, unscrupulous or self-serving people holding a position of trust or confidence can pressure an elderly and infirm person to make bequests that do not reflect his or her true desires. This is called the exercise of Undue Influence and it is a basis to set aside the bequest or transfer. Special rules and protections exist when testamentary gifts are made to custodial care givers, drafters of the will or trust, or attorneys involved, that may act to invalidate such transfers.
In will and trust dispute cases it may be necessary to closely review medical and financial records in order to determine whether or not a will or trust was signed under improper or suspicious circumstances, so as to justify legal action by the affected heirs. Questions may arise of Lack of Capacity on the part of the signor due to Dementia or Senility. On the other hand, a No Contest Clause may mean that an unsuccessful challenge will result in a forfeiture of rights under a Will or Trust. These are serious issues that require caution and diligence.
Our firm has represented excluded heirs in lawsuits seeking additional compensation from Probate proceedings and defended heirs against such claims in Court. If you have doubts about whether you may have a valid claim against the estate of a deceased family member, or if you are the subject of a lawsuit designed to set aside a transfer to you by a someone who has passed away, please feel free to email or call with your question.
We represent family members and beneficiaries who believe that a trustee, executor or administrator has engaged in fraudulent or dishonest conduct in the administration of a will or trust.
Please feel free to give us a call at (858) 259-7790 or contact us online.