ESTATE AND TRUST DISPUTES: Litigation
Many opportunities for disputes can occur during a probate, estate administration or a trust administration process. Challenges to an executor, administrator or trustee’s authority or actions can occur and a beneficiary or other interested person can file a claim that the document is valid due to failure to following proper execution requirements, fraud and undue influence exerted on the person creating the document.
If a trust or a Will is poorly drafted or has ambiguous provisions, the trustee can seek guidance from a court as to how to remedy those problems by filing a petition. Disputes among beneficiaries, co-trustees, creditors a spouse or child omitted from a Will or Trust all raise the potential for litigation. Many times, mediation can be held with a mediator experienced in trust and estate matters and the parties can reach a resolution of the dispute that will save time and money during a lengthy litigation matter.
If a dispute is not resolved informally or through mediation, a judge will hear evidence and reach a decision about a dispute. This process can take 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.