Sometimes a surviving spouse or a beneficiary under a will or trust feels as if he or she has been wronged by the decedent or by the personal representative or trustee. Sometimes a beneficiary or the personal representative believes that a person or entity has incorrectly claimed that it is owed money by the decedent. Occasionally an original will or trust is lost or a will is filed that might be deficient for some reason. When any of these conditions is present, an adversary proceeding in probate court or a separate civil action sometimes can provide a solution.
Types of Probate or Trust Litigation
1. Will contests (due to undue influence, lack of capacity, or otherwise).
2. Construction of a will (i.e., determine what its words mean)
3. Elective share proceedings.
4. Pretermitted spouse proceedings.
5. Interpretation or reformation of trust.
6. Contesting the validity of Special Needs Trusts.
7. Contesting validity of creditors’ claims.
8. Have a copy of lost or destroyed will admitted to probate.
9. Removal of the personal (sometimes referred to as the executor or executrix).
10. Removal of the trustee of a trust.
11. Breach of fiduciary duty by the personal representative or trustee.
12. Pre-nuptial agreements.
13. Post-nuptial agreements
14. Spousal rights
15. Homestead actions
16. Joint bank and brokerage accounts