Articles Posted in Litigation

equal-unequal-300x225As if losing a parent wasn’t hard enough, that loss often comes hand in hand with the very real potential for life-changing sibling rivalry over the inheritance. In fact, disagreement over whether an inheritance has been divided fairly is the number one cause of adult sibling rivalry.

At the root of all such conflicts is a lack of clear and consistent communication. When no one is willing to talk frankly about such concerns ahead of time, it’s inevitable that individual players will develop their own expectations about what they “deserve.”

At the same time, the parent—even when well meaning—may also hold opinions or make assumptions that are detrimental to a truly equitable inheritance strategy.

AdobeStock_57199720-300x300By E. Jennifer Reale

It’s often said that art imitates life. If that’s true of the popular movie, I Care a Lot, life can get pretty scary in the world of conservators and conservatorship.

Conservatorship is designed to protect a person who has, for any number of reasons, become incapable of managing his or her financial and/or personal affairs. Most people create a Designation of Conservator as a standard part of their estate planning.

 

 

When you are putting your estate plan together, one of the advance directives you will want to  create is a Designation of Conservator.  It is probably something you haven’t thought about, or maybe even knew it existed! But it is really important.

What is this Designation of Conservator?  It’s where you decide ahead of time who will manage your affairs – and under what certain circumstances – if you become incapacitated.

So what is a conservator?

A conservator is a person appointed by the probate court to oversee the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who is determined by the probate court to be incapable of Continue reading

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Contrary to popular belief, a Will or Last Will and Testament, isn’t always written in stone.

Quite frequently, disputes arise over the contents of a Will and the parties who are at odds must seek outside help to resolve the issues. Because there are often conflicts of interest around such disputes, it’s important for each party Continue reading

157H (1)By Carmine Perri

Because of my practice area, probate and elder law litigation, I oftentimes find myself in either the courtroom or the hallway with a client fielding this all too common question:

“What could we have done to avoid all of this?”

You probably have an estate plan which means you have certainly taken a step in the right direction to protect your assets and ensure that they get distributed as you wish.

But you may be able to do more. Continue reading

AdobeStock_32607232-300x225This is the first in a two-part series about the realities of and remedies for sibling rivalry over family inheritance. The 2nd part in the series “How to Keep the Kids from Fighting Over Their Inheritance” provides tips on how to avoid these kinds of conflicts.

“Mom always liked you best,” Tommy Smothers used to say. Those five words make up one of the most recognizable catch phrases of the inimitable Smothers Brothers. Coined in the early 1960s, it captures — in a humorous way — the rivalry that is an almost ubiquitous part of growing up with siblings.

Most of the time, such rivalries fade over the years, becoming fodder for family ribbing around the holiday table. But when the passing of a parent drives siblings into the unfamiliar territory of dealing with an inheritance, those rivalries can rear their ugly heads in unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking ways.

Portrait of happy woman who is hoping for good newsBy Carmine Perri  

With Thanksgiving behind us and other holidays quickly approaching, most of us are now in full holiday swing.  Maybe it is simply the time of year where the word “expectation” is bouncing around in my mind.

With these holidays, we must at least consider the notion that expectations are created and that some of us, from children to adults, have some expectation about receiving gifts (from where is a conversation for you to have with your loved ones). Continue reading

By E. Jennifer RealeAdobeStock_116263415-300x200

Trustees have been given an important responsibility to administer an estate. But not all trustees live up to what is expected of them. If you are having problems with a trustee and considering legal options against them but the trustee is discouraging you from taking action by denying you information, and telling you that he or she has a defense under the terms of the trust, there are some things you should know.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about the protection a trustee can enjoy under the terms of the trust:

Grabbing moneySo you’ve got your house in order, estate plan complete and signed, wishes documented. What are the chances of your Will being challenged?

From our experience, the chances are greater than before.

Will contests

Will contests, when one or more parties challenge a Last Will & Testament, are a direct attack in probate court against one’s estate plan.  There is a growing trend however, of attacks against estate plans that take place outside of probate court.

We’ve been seeing a marked increase in people challenging Continue reading

240_F_165554826_xYrYqGfnlw7NiLoI42t8C88r6SOn57hsModern law offers a variety of ways for individuals to manage, distribute, and protect their property, whether it be for their own benefit or for that of a loved one.  A well-known, and yet seemingly complex, mechanism for doing so is a Trust.  But what does this mean for you, the beneficiary? 

Do you think you are a beneficiary of a trust but have never been contacted by the trustee?  

Have you ever had reason to believe that a trustee is mismanaging or not being truthful about trust assets?  

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