Trust And Estate Litigation: When Disputes Lead To Legal Action
Many families experience disagreements over the administration of trusts and estates. Many estate plans are out of date or insufficient. Many times, issues of capacity or abuse may lead families to challenge a will or trust.
Attorney Kent Kristof has been named to the list of Super Lawyers in the area of trust and estate litigation. In addition to his excellent reputation and depth of knowledge, he is a compassionate and highly capable attorney. His work is thorough and detail-oriented. As your advocates, the team at Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law, will make a clear and compelling case on your behalf.
When Is Estate Litigation Appropriate?
Litigation over wills, trusts, conservatorships and elder abuse includes, but is not limited to:
- Determining who is entitled to the estate or trust distribution
- Compelling a trustee or personal representative to account for estate assets
- Objecting to an accounting submitted by a trustee or personal representative
- Objecting to the appointment of a personal representative (executor or administrator), trustee or conservator
- Contesting a will
- Removing a trustee
- Recovering assets from abusers, bad trustees or others
Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law, are well-equipped to protect your interests in any such matters.
Will Contests And Contests Of Appointment Of Executor Or Administrator
Will contests can generally be divided into two categories:
- Disputes as to who gets what (contest of testamentary provisions)
- Disputes as to who is to be in charge of the estate during administration (contest of appointment)
Disputes over testamentary provisions – who gets what – may involve a number of factors, including:
- Spouses or children not referenced in testamentary documents
- Improper conduct by caregivers
- Strife within families
- A mental infirmity on the part of the decedent
- A lack of legal requirements in testamentary documents
- Incomplete or missing testamentary documents
A contest of appointment of executor or administrator usually involves the reasons why one person should not be in charge of the estate.
Because of the level of emotion that usually surrounds will contests, and the breadth of legal knowledge required to effectively pursue a will contest or contest of appointment, many firms do not routinely handle these cases. However, our attorneys devote quite a bit of the firm’s resources to these matters.
Trust litigation can cover a large number of issues. Frequently, trust litigation covers several of the following:
- Retrieving trust property improperly taken
- Compelling an accounting
- Determining what property is in the trust
- Objecting to an accounting
- Removing the trustee
- Determining entitlement to the property in the trust
Trust litigation usually involves allegations that the settlor lacked capacity when he executed the trust or an amendment, that someone took property that belonged to the trust, or that the trustee has acted improperly.
Trust litigation is often complex. It is not uncommon for trust litigation to involve both general civil courts and probate courts – and sometimes family law courts. Thus, if you are contemplating trust litigation, you should employ lawyers who are well-rounded and knowledgeable in the laws that frequently come into play with trusts. The team at Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law, consists of such attorneys.
Compelling, Attacking And Defending Fiduciary Accountings
When a fiduciary (like a trustee or executor) fails to provide required accountings, our law firm can get to the truth and if appropriate, seek the removal of a fiduciary from a position of trust. Our litigators have extensive experience compelling and attacking such cases.
We also assist clients to prevent litigation over fiduciary accountings by advising administrators, trustees, conservators and other fiduciaries in the production of an accounting that will leave no room for objections.