Trust and estate disputes among survivors are often unpleasant. Whether you are disinherited by a will or there is an objection to a will in which you are named as an executor or a beneficiary, we have the experience and skill to help you through these complex issues efficiently and effectively. Our trust and estate litigation practice represents foundations, charities, hospitals, trustees and trusts. We are actively engaged in the representation of the interests of beneficiaries, objectants, attorneys, trustees, executors and fiduciaries in connection with these matters. Our experience in these areas encompasses all facets of the dispute. In this highly technical area of the law, we represent client interests at hearings, trials, appeals and defense work.
WILL AND TRUST CONTESTS
Challenging a will and trust typically arise when people are disinherited or a will describes an unintended or unexpected asset distribution. As a result, people often question the validity of the will and challenge the process by which it was developed. We aggressively represent client interests in these matters.
Sadly, from time to time people make wills when they lack the required mental capacity to do so. Sometimes, they suffer from dementia, senility, Alzheimer’s disease or other mentally debilitating conditions which prevent the making of a proper will. We can help. Based upon our experience and results obtained for clients we know that the courts provide redress for these unfortunate circumstances.
Matter of Murray, 49 AD3d 1003 (3d Dept 2008).
Matter of DiSiena, 103 AD3d 1077 (3d Dept 2013) (wills, trusts and estates).
Matter of Lally, 2013 NY Slip Op 8313 (3rd Dept 2013) (wills, trusts and estates).
In some instances, claims of lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, duress or undue influence are entirely unfounded. It is not uncommon for attorneys in our firm to successfully represent the defense of the estate, the Executor or the attorneys responsible for the drafting, preparation and signing of the will or trust. We soundly and aggressively prosecute the defense of these types of cases. It is not uncommon for us to lend support and assistance to a client’s long-standing family attorney or estate planning attorneys in this practice area. We work to protect and preserve that relationship and to ensure that a person’s intentions are enforced after they have passed away.
CONTESTING OR INITIATING A GUARDIANSHIP
We represent clients who desire to contest the need for the appointment of a guardian or those who wish to initiate a guardianship proceeding for a person in need of that intervention.
Over the years these proceedings have become significantly more complex. It is not uncommon for the proof to focus on detailed and specific medical records, medical doctor testimony, opinion evidence and precise standards establishing the proof required to prevail. Many of these proceedings involve competing medical theories and opinions. In this context our experience will establish your confidence that your interests are best represented. There are often significant issues relative to future care and treatment of incapacitated persons, costs of care, location appropriate for residence and the like. Please do not leave these important issues in the hands of the law without our careful representation.
FIDUCIARY DUTY DISPUTES
Executors, administrators and trustees are held responsible to act in the best interests of the estate. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when these people do not act properly or responsibly. Thus, a breach of duty may occur. We have the knowledge and experience to assist fiduciaries when performing their duties or challenging fiduciaries when they do not act properly.
ESTATE PLANNING, ADMINISTRATION AND PROBATE
We have decades of experience assisting clients with estate planning, probate and administration. In order to best serve your needs, our firm will work together with your financial advisors, life insurance consultants, tax and accounting professionals, as appropriate, to develop your personal estate plan, no matter how simple or complex, to achieve your intended results. Our work will address your personal needs such as gifting assets to loved ones, protecting assets from overzealous creditors, minimizing taxes, preserving assets for minors or appointing guardians for minors or incapacitated persons. We assist clients with simple or complex wills, trusts, guardianships, powers of attorney and health care proxies.
When a loved one passes, we will guide families through any necessary probate or estate administration. Our firm ensures that any such probate or administration will be completed efficiently and effectively.
Please Keep In Mind…
Even when a carefully drafted estate plan has been established, the will may still need to be probated. With the assistance of an experienced attorney from our firm, this particular process can be efficiently accomplished.
There are instances when a loved one passes without a will. As a result, his or her estate may be subject to intestate administration, with all assets to be transferred according to New York’s intestacy statues. No need to worry. Our firm will help you through this process.