Trusts and Estates
Disputes often arise in probate court when a substantial amount of money involved or when there is family conflict is present. These disputes are generally between one or more beneficiaries and the person responsible for administering the estate (the person who makes distributions from the trust’s assets). We offer extensive experience in trust litigation and dispute resolution. Most disputes are resolved without litigation through negotiated settlements, but if that is not successful it is important to have an experienced litigator represent you.
We assist trustees, estate executors and administrators in both probate proceedings and trust and estate administration. We advise trustees and administrators on all issues related to trust administration, including the following:
Allocation of assets among trusts
Distributions to beneficiaries
Resolution of estate tax disputes
Accountings to beneficiaries
Modification of irrevocable trusts
Interpretation of trust provisions
Settlement of claims against trustees
Frequently Asked Questions
Who needs a will?
Everyone needs a will. Even if you don’t think you need a will to distribute your property, wills can benefit you in other ways. A will can assist the Court in deciding what’s best for your children. Additionally, your estate may be entitled to property (such as proceeds from a lawsuit) that you are unaware of at the time you draft your will.
What happens if I die without a will?
Dying without a will is called “intestacy.” If you die intestate, state law will determine who will get your property. Each state has its own specific formula for making such a determination. If no relatives can be found, the property goes to the state.
Who should draft my will?
It’s best to have an experienced attorney assist you with drafting and executing your will, because probate law is complex and specific.
Can I appoint a guardian for my children in my will?
A will is the best place to indicate your desire of who should be your child’s guardian. However, a court will not automatically appoint the person you name. A court will consider your choice, but it will also assess the situation and then appoint the person it thinks will do the best job for your child.
Can I dispose of my property in any way I wish?
Yes, for the most part you can give your property away however you wish, but there are a few exceptions. You should consult with an experienced estate attorney, especially if you have specific bequests.