Has Mom or Dad transferred the family home into joint names with one of your brothers or sisters (inter vivos transfer, gift or resulting trust)? Has Mom or Dad added one of your brothers or sisters as a signatory (joint owner) on their bank accounts? Did Mom or Dad leave you out of their will unexpectedly? Do you suspect that Mom or Dad was not competent when they took these steps? These are common situations that arise in estate litigation.
Estate litigation most commonly involves will variation lawsuits when someone feels they have been unfairly or unjustly left out of the will.
However, estate issues may also involve:
- an executor who is unable or unwilling to act and there is no back-up – who will administer the estate?
- an executor is acting inappropriately with the estate assets. Who is an executor entitled to pay for assistance with administering the estate? When is an executor entitled to distribute assets from the estate?
- breach of trust. Do you suspect that the executor is wrongfully using or diverting assets from the estate for their own benefit?
- other disputes between beneficiaries or between an executor and a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Beneficiaries do not normally have the same information available to the executor and may feel the executor is doing something they should not be doing or not doing something they should be doing. Sometimes only legal action will resolve these issues.
If you need a lawyer for advice on any of these issues, or other questions you may have relating to an estate, we can help.