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Business Law & Litigation: Estate Litigation

Trustees, executors of an estate, and conservators and guardians have certain fiduciary and legal obligations toward regard to their wards or beneficiaries. When a trust is financially mismanaged or undue influence is exposed in the writing of a will, estate litigation may be necessary to protect or recover an estate’s assets. At Helmer Legal, our estate litigation staff can work with forensic accountants, psychologists, handwriting experts, and private investigators in exposing wrongdoing on the part of trustees, guardians, and estate executors.

In will contests, we will carefully review versions and drafts of a will and the actions of people close to the decedent in the months and days leading up to their death.

Elders may be fleeced in their declining years, and the estate seriously depleted, even by family members, while the parent is still alive. At Helmer Legal we will work hard to run the assets transfers to ground.

These activities can get out of hand if one sibling feels the emotional need to prove that Mom or Dad loved him or her the most, and that they have to grab onto more assets to prove this to themselves.

If you believe a trust is being mismanaged or a deceased family member was the victim of undue influence in writing final Will otherwise, contact an estate litigation attorney at Helmer Legal today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Issues Associated with Estate Litigation

The estate litigation attorneys at Helmer Legal represent and counsel clients in regard to the following issues related to estate litigation:

  • Undue influence
  • Alterations to a will
  • Financial mismanagement of a special needs trust
  • Mismanagement of an irrevocable trust
  • ERISA issues associated with a trust
  • Suspicious transfers of estate monies by a trustee
  • Questions of mental capacity
  • Duress during the writing of a will
  • Questions regarding IRA and 401(k) designations
  • Questionable investments using trust fund monies
  • Violations of fiduciary responsibilities
  • Unsuitable investments by stockbrokers and account churning
  • Depletion of the assets of an elder through fraud or psychological domination
  • The use of estate issues as weapons of psychological warfare by a maladjusted sibling against other members of the family

Wills, Undue Influence, and Mental Capacity

Unfortunately, seniors are often very trusting of those that appear to care for them in the later stages of their lives. As a result, a scheming family member, nurse, caretaker, or neighbor can earn the trust of a vulnerable senior and convince them to make changes to their will, or make substantial asset transfers or suspicious “gifts”. Here, the fraudster, perhaps even a child, might convince an elder that certain family members don’t really love them or that they can’t be trusted with certain assets.

In Will Contests we are prepared to consult a wide array of experts in order to expose inconsistencies in testimony, handwriting samples, financial records, and versions of a will. In many instances, sudden, unusual changes in behavior and estate planning on the part of a decedent indicate undue influence and will tampering. In cases where the deceased suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s, diminished mental capacity will be investigated and documented and if warranted, presented to the Court.

Contact Estate Litigation Attorney at Helmer Legal

Cases involving fraud, financial mismanagement, and undue influence almost always leave a paper trail of some kind. Consequently, though you may initially have reservations about taking legal action, once an investigation is begun and professional resources brought to bear on the case at hand, negligence and fraud can often be exposed in a number of ways. To learn how our estate litigation attorneys can help you, contact Helmer Legal today.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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