Estate litigation is commonly in the news, because there are so often disputes over celebrities estates. From AOL’s summary of the 10 Most Infamous Inheritance Feuds to People Magazine’s article on the litigation surrounding Robin William’s estate, there are no shortage of examples of celebrity families fighting over property, assets, and legacies.
The reality, however, is disputes over estates do not just happen to famous people or to the fabulously wealthy. Any time someone passes away, it is possible estate litigation will arise. There are ways to reduce the chances of this happening though, like making a comprehensive estate plan. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help.
When a dispute does arise, those involved need the best representation. Our Suffolk County estate litigation law firm has extensive experience with disputes about wills, trusts, and other estate matters. Give us a call as soon as you believe litigation will be necessary to protect your own interests or to protect the interests of someone who you love who has passed away.
Top Causes of Disputes in Estate Litigation
There are three primary kinds of disputes which arise and which result in estate litigation. These include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty claims: The executor or trustee is accused of mismanaging property, of taking property from the estate, or of failing to fulfill responsibilities associated with probate or trust administration.
- Trust contests: Claims are made that a trust which the deceased created before his death should not be considered valid. This could be because of problems during the creation of the trust and with the trust document. It could also be because the deceased person who made the trust was not of sound mind and/or did not make the trust of his own free will.
- Will contests: Will contests are similar in many ways to trust contests, but the focus is on arguing that a last will and testament should not be considered legally valid.
If you become involved in any of these disputes, it is important you are represented by an estate litigation lawyer with experience. Executors and trustees may need to defend their own reputation and avoid financial loss which could occur if the court determines they breached their fiduciary obligations. Executors and trustees also defend the will or the trust in case either is contested.
Heirs, beneficiaries, and family and friends of the deceased are generally the ones who make claims of breached fiduciary duty or who argue a will and trust should not be considered valid. Those who bring these types of cases in court will need to prove their assertions by making strong arguments. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help you to craft the legal arguments most likely to help you succeed.
Consequences of Disputes in Estate Litigation
It is important to do everything possible to try to avoid estate litigation because the consequences are serious. When litigation arises in connection with an estate:
- The value of the estate will be diminished. Property can be mismanaged and investments can lose their value as family members fight over who should own the property or whether the executor or trustee is doing his job. The legal fees associated with litigation can also reduce the estate value significantly.
- Family relationships can be lost. When a family gets into a fight over an estate, this can often lead to a permanent breakdown of family relationships. When the family should be coming together in their grief, they could be broken apart permanently by a nasty legal battle.
Don’t let this happen to your assets and your family. Contact Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC today to learn how we can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan.
How a Suffolk County Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help
You can reduce the chances of estate litigation occurring by having a comprehensive estate plan created long before you pass away. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help. You can also download our estate planning checklist to discover more about the ways in which we can help you to protect your assets and heirs by taking steps to avoid estate litigation.
If you are already involved in estate litigation, we can also provide comprehensive assistance. We represent executors, heirs, trustees, and anyone else who is contesting a will, challenging a trust, defending a will or trust, or involved in a dispute over fiduciary duty.
Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to learn more about all that our Suffolk County estate planning lawyers can do for you.