Disputes that arise after the passing of a family member can be extremely difficult to resolve for reasons of legal complexity, as well as the emotional difficulty that comes with such a loss. To protect your rights in a probate dispute, it is important to seek sound legal counsel. Oftentimes, an emotional and tense family probate matter comes down to a detailed interpretation of a legal document, such as a trust or will, or attempting to determine the intent of a now-deceased family member. An experienced probate litigation attorney can take the burden of attempting to resolve these legal disputes while emotions are high.
At Aeton Law Partners LLP, we bring our litigation experience in various areas to probate matters. Our lawyers strive to resolve these issues efficiently for our clients, and we have the ability to solve complex problems with creative resolutions. Our goal is to allow our clients to protect their financial interests, maintain family connections, if possible, and gain a sense of closure.
Probate disputes are difficult, but we can help you try to obtain the right results for your situation. Call 860.785.2099.
NEW HAVEN, MIDDLETOWN, AND HARTFORD WILL CONTEST ATTORNEYS
In Connecticut, a probate litigation matter may be heard in one of Connecticut’s Probate Courts or in Connecticut Superior Court. In addition, an appeal from a decision of the Probate Court will be heard by one of Connecticut’s Superior Courts. The attorneys at Aeton Law Partners, LLP, can help determine in which venue your matter should appear, and, if necessary, we can take a matter from Probate Court to Superior Court on appeal without the need of bringing in additional attorneys. Our team of probate litigation attorneys may be able to assist you regardless of whether your probate litigation matter is heard in the less formal
Connecticut Probate Court system or through the traditional Connecticut Superior Court system. Our team of litigators have experience in both.
Our attorneys provide representation to individuals and families, as well as fiduciaries, in probate litigation. We assess our clients’ situations and, considering all potential risks and benefits, counsel them on the best way to proceed. We may able to resolve the conflict outside of court prior to the commencement of formal litigation and early on before a dispute escalates.
At Aeton Law Partners, LLP, we have represented various parties in various probate litigation matters. This includes heirs, beneficiaries, and fiduciaries in cases involving:
- Will contests:
- If a Will that purports to be the Last Will of a family member has been admitted to Probate Court, and you believe it does not accurately reflect that person’s intent, then contesting the Will may be appropriate. Will contests can be delicate matters. In fact, some Wills may contain a provision that specifically divests a person who contests a Will of any bequest. To learn more about Will contests, click here.
- Trust construction contests:
- Sometimes, the language of a Trust leaves its purpose ambiguous. In these cases, it may be appropriate to petition the Court to interpret the language of the Trust to determine what should happen to its assets and to whom the assets should be left. In some cases, the Trustee (the person or entity who controls the Trust) may be unwilling to distribute the assets of the Trust without Court intervention.
- Contested estates:
- Both large and small estates are subject to disputes between heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors. This may be especially true where the decedent has died intestate (without a Will). If you are an heir or a potential beneficiary to a Connecticut Estate, it is crucial to know what you may be entitled to under Connecticut’s laws so that you can act accordingly to preserve your rights.
- Conflicts of interest:
- There can be many parties to a Probate Court dispute, and Connecticut Courts become concerned when parties who may have competing interests are represented by the same attorney or representative. In these cases, an attorney for one party may be removed upon showing that a potential conflict exists. Our Probate Litigation attorneys can evaluate whether a conflict exists and take appropriate action to remedy it.
- Removal of a trustee:
- Trustees have a crucial duty: to ensure that the Trust it is responsible for remains solvent in order to accomplish the purpose for which it was created. For example, a grandparent may establish a Trust for a grandchild which provides for the grandchild upon reaching a certain age. Before the grandchild reaches that age, it is the Trustees responsibility to manage the Trust to ensure that the principal of the Trust, and hopefully any accrued interest or other capital gains, is available when the grandchild reaches the appropriate age or meets the required condition. If a Trustee fails to do that, then a beneficiary may petition the Court for removal of the Trustee.
- Removal of an executor:
- As with a Trustee, the Executor (executrix, if female) of an estate “manages” the estate. The Executor is tasked with paying bills, filing certain Probate forms, and ensuring the estate is properly administered. If you are an heir or a beneficiary, it can be very important that the Executor does this efficiently and in a timely manner. Otherwise, the estate may lose money and time – both of which may reduce the value of the estate. An Executor who is not managing an estate properly is subject to removal upon petition by an interested party.
- An Executor, also known as a “fiduciary,” must be careful not to attempt to benefit from the position at the expense of creditors, heirs, beneficiaries, or the estate itself. By self-dealing, a fiduciary breaches its duty to the parties by favoring itself over the estate. This may be done, for example, by entering into deals with the estate that are not “arm’s length” transactions.
- Fee contests:
- Estate administrators, fiduciaries, and estate attorneys are entitled to compensation for the time, energy, and costs that go into managing and settling an estate. However, the fees must be reasonable and approved by the Probate Court. If you believe that the fees requested by an executor or an attorney are exorbitant you may object to the request.
- Trustee fraud:
- Trustees are not only responsible for managing the Trust and its assets, but also for reporting on its management through accounting and other requirements. In some cases, a Trustee may attempt to hide wrongdoing or poor performance by falsifying reports and/or accounting. Fraud can be difficult to prove, and it takes strict attention to detail and diligence to discover it. However, if it is proven that a Trustee has committed fraud, it may be liable for damages.
We are equally skilled in defending against litigation as well as pursuing litigation on behalf of our clients. Our streamlined approach to litigation — including our use of cutting edge technology — allows us to aggressively seek the best possible outcome for our clients while keeping their legal costs competitive.
For more information on how we can help you with your probate dispute, contact us for a consultation with our Connecticut probate litigation lawyers.