The period of time following the loss of a loved one is, of course, a difficult one. At times, challenges concerning estate administration may arise during an already difficult period. Disputes surrounding the legitimacy of a will or trust; the appointment of a guardian or conservator or power of attorney; or the administration of a trust or estate are potential challenges that may arise following the death of a loved one.
In some circumstances, a loved one may wish to challenges a will or trust because of a variety of circumstances that may arise, including because a deceased loved one lacked the capacity to make a will or the family members believes there was undue influence. Circumstances may lead to a will or a trust being contested while family members may also believe that a fiduciary involved in a will or trust dispute disregarded important documents or the law or that one family member or another should have had more responsibility in the process.
Family members may not be alone as the list of potential concerns that may arise concerning a will or trust can be long. Disputes can include will contests; trust litigation; contract disputes; business succession disputes; breach of a fiduciary duty; the appointment of a personal representative; or guardianship or conservatorship concerns, in addition to other possible concerns, which can all be resolved through the probate court.
There are a number of legal options available to help families through disputes, including alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation, or probate litigation. Laws surrounding estate planning and administration are designed to help families effectively prepare for the legal issues surrounding the end of life and are also available to help when disputes arise during what is already a difficult time following the loss of a loved one.