Estates and Wills Law

INTRODUCTION TO ESTATE PLANNING AND LITIGATION

Estate planning and litigation can be quite complex. Has there been a misuse of a Power of Attorney or an agency relationship; have they violated their fiduciary duties of good faith, best interest, conflicts of interest; have the investments been inappropriate or have they borrowed money from the estate? Are there joint accounts which go by survivorship but never were intended to; are there missing assets? Was the testator or grantor subject to medical complications, incompetent, defrauded or did they act under undue influence?

Are there Medical Directives in place? Have they considered trusts for Medicaid purposes or to avoid probate or administration?

Are there problems of liquidation, insolvent estates, what is the priority of debts, and who pays the debt on real estate inherited by someone other than the residuary legatee?

What if a specific asset given to one individual has been sold and no longer exists? What about the widow’s elections, exemptions and the Small Estate Act to avoid probate? Are there lost Wills or taxes due?

Who can qualify as Executor or Administrator; is a Conservator needed? Is there a lost Will and Testament; what should be on First Inventories and Accountings? Can the Executor sell the real estate?

We hope to spot these issues in the first place and then address them. Frequently, clients do not even know the problem exists.

Estates and Wills Practice Areas:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Medical Directives
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Will and Power of Attorney Litigation (usually involving undue influence, duress, fraud, or competency)
  • Gifts
  • Trust Administration
  • Probate Administration
  • Elder Law
  • Abuse of Power of Attorneys
  • Survivorship Assets
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Items Involving Competence and Senility
  • Misrepresentation
  • Deeds Circumventing Wills
  • Preparation of Inventories, Accountings and Tax Returns
  • Preparation of Inter Vivos and Testamentary Trusts
  • Asset Preservation Trusts
  • Elder Abuse
  • Proper Will Execution
  • Remainder Interest in Property
  • Augmented Estate Elections
  • Intestacy
  • Elections of the Widow Against the Estate
  • Fiduciary, Executor and Trustee Duties
  • Conservatorships and Guardianships

 

  • Decanting Trusts (changing them)
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Estate Plans
  • Partition Suits – Selling real estate owned by several people
  • Valuations
  • Gifts
  • Probate Matters
  • Handwritten Wills
  • Lost Wills
  • Care Agreements
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Dealing with Estates and Multiple Marriages; Second Marriage
  • Dealing with Multi-Party Accounts and Survivorship Issues
  • Dealing with Designated Beneficiaries of Life Insurance, Pension Plans and IRAs
  • Dealing with Proper Investments under the Uniform Investment Code
  • Dealing with Proper Actions under the Uniform Power of Attorney Act
  • Dealing with Issues under the Uniform Trust Code, including Fiduciary Duties, such as, Conflicts of Interest, Due Diligence, Best Interest in Good Faith Requirements, Preserving the Estate as known to the Trustee, Appropriate Gifts, Discretionary Standards and Duty of Honesty, Fair Dealing and Disclosure