Common Estate & Trust Issues
Probate is a legal proceeding in which a deceased person’s property is distributed to his or her heirs after death. The method of property distribution is determined either by a Will or the Intestacy laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which determine the heirs and property distribution. A will can be probated in the county in which the deceased person resided at the time of his or her death, and according to the law of the Commonwealth. Sometimes the probate of an estate does not go as expected, and serious legal issues can arise that may jeopardize your inheritance. If you are not being treated fairly during the probate of an estate, or suspect that the estate is being mismanaged, please contact us immediately.
SERIOUS ISSUE #1: A Personal Representative is not doing their job, or that person's performance is in question
Personal Representatives owe fiduciary duties to the estate beneficiaries, which must be observed at all times. Some examples of fiduciary duties are: 1) a duty to completely account for assets of the estate; 2) A duty of full disclosure concerning affairs of the estate; 3) A duty of loyalty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries; and 4) Duty to make prudent investments, or otherwise, place trust assets in secure, gaining investments; 5) A duty to not make waste by making excessive estate expenditures, or by allowing estate assets to incur expenses while not earning sufficient income. If you believe that a personal representative is failing in any of these duties, please contact us immediately. Additionally, if a personal representative mismanages or misappropriates the estate or trust property; self-deals property; or violates any of the aforementioned duties, he / she is subject to removal, and could be ordered to pay monetary damages to the beneficiaries.
SERIOUS ISSUE #2: Your Requests for Information are Being Ignored
If you are a beneficiary of an estate, you have a right to receive information about the estate assets and expenditures. Often personal representatives and their attorneys shut out information requests and delay (or outright refuse) to share important information about the estate so that they may maintain control of the estate, and spend estate assets down. If you have experienced a lack of cooperative and transparency in an estate proceeding, contact us so that we can help ensure that you will be treated fairly during this process.
SERIOUS ISSUE #3: Your Interest in the Estate is in Dispute or contested by another party
If a will is being contested or if a party contests your interest in the estate, you will certainly need counsel to help ensure that you are not left without an inheritance. Often family members or ex-spouses will attempt to gain a greater share of estate assets and money by contesting the shares of other beneficiaries. This is an adversarial process, and you will need our experience and skills to help you defeat any claims made against you, or any attempt to disintegrate your interest.