Estate and Trust Disputes
Many opportunities for disputes can arise during an estate or trust administration. Challenges to the executor or trustee’s authority or actions can occur, and a beneficiary or other interested person can claim that the document is invalid due to failure to follow proper execution requirements, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud or undue influence exerted on the person creating the document.
If a trust or will is poorly drafted or has ambiguous provisions, the trustee or executor can petition a court for guidance on how to address those issues. Disputes involving beneficiaries, co-trustees, creditors, a spouse or child omitted from the document all raise the potential for litigation. Oftentimes mediation with a mediator well-versed in trust and estate matters can help bring about a resolution.
If a dispute cannot be resolved informally or through mediation, a judge will hear evidence and ultimately reach a decision. This process can take many months or even years, and the cost can rise to the level of many thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the length and complexity of the litigation.