Representing the Executor and / or Trustee
A fiduciary to the estate has an obligation to ensure that the decedent’s wishes are fulfilled; gross negligence, fraud or collusion against the estate may lead to the fiduciary being personally liable for damages to the estate or its beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is so disgruntled as to initiate a suit against the Executor or Trustee, which they may do on their own or with legal representation, the fiduciary must defend the estate. If the beneficiary does retain legal counsel to represent them, the fiduciary should consider retaining his or her own legal counsel as soon as possible. Remember, litigation is the lead-up to trial, and small mistakes and miscalculations early in the process have a tendency of snowballing into major obstacles in the future.
Representing the Suspicious or Disinherited Beneficiary
It is an unfortunate reality that there are a large number of financial predators who prey upon the elderly and the disabled. This may be someone the intended beneficiary never met, a professional caregiver who was never trusted, or even a selfish family member. If you believe that a financial predator has fraudulently induced or unduly influenced a person who intended to leave you a portion of his or her estate, you should contact an experienced estate-planning attorney immediately in order to avoid your claim being filed too late.
Surrogate’s Court Proceedings
If you are unfortunate enough to get through the initial phase of a contested Probate only to have the Fiduciary make an egregious mistake, or if you are that fiduciary who has done nothing wrong but are being accused of breaching your fiduciary duty, you may be facing one of the many specialized court proceedings most people have never heard of. If you are a part of a Turnover Proceeding, Fiduciary Accounting, are accused of having a Confidential Relationship, or are bringing a Will dispute to trial, the chances are that you will need specialized representation: The Surrogate’s Court has different rules of service, process and procedure, all of which require familiarity before even commencing a formal action.