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Estate Planning and Administration: Fiduciary Litigation

Our New Jersey Attorneys Effectively Handle Challenging Disputes Involving Fiduciary Duties During Probate and Trust Administration

As “fiduciaries” of the estate, personal representatives and trustees have an obligation to act in the estate’s best interests. If they fail to do so, either intentionally or inadvertently, those who are negatively affected can seek legal remedies in fiduciary litigation.

Our firm has extensive experience representing individuals in fiduciary litigation and other estate litigation matters in New Jersey. We represent fiduciaries – personal representatives and trustees – as well as heirs, beneficiaries, creditors and others who have suffered financial harm as a result of fiduciary misconduct. We are aggressive and efficient advocates for our clients, and we rely on centuries of experience to make sure our clients’ interests are protected.

Experienced New Jersey Legal Counsel for Fiduciary Litigation Involving Wills and Trusts

In our fiduciary litigation practice, we represent clients in disputes involving wills, trusts, and other probate and non-probate matters. While we fight to protect our clients’ interests in court when necessary, we are also skilled negotiators and advocates in mediation and arbitration proceedings.

We help our clients achieve favorable results in matters involving:

Probate Fraud

Probate fraud occurs when a personal representative uses his or her position for personal gain. A personal representative has a fiduciary duty to administer the decedent’s estate in good faith in accordance with the terms of his or her will. When a personal representative chooses not to act in the estate’s best interests in an effort to obtain assets or gain other benefits, he or she can be held liable in the New Jersey courts.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

In addition to probate fraud, there are various other forms of fiduciary breaches under New Jersey law as well. Examples include everything from mismanaging estate assets to improperly distributing (or withholding distribution of) assets to beneficiaries. We represent fiduciaries, beneficiaries and others in litigation involving all types of fiduciary breaches in state courts throughout New Jersey.

Removal of Personal Representatives and Trustees

In various circumstances, the removal of a personal representative or trustee can be an appropriate remedy for a breach of fiduciary duty. We represent beneficiaries and others in efforts to remove fiduciaries pursuant to New Jersey law, and we represent personal representatives and trustees in defense of removal petitions as well.  

Requests for a Formal Accounting

Under New Jersey law, fiduciaries have an obligation to prepare accountings which demonstrate that they have faithfully adhered to their fiduciary obligations. If a fiduciary has failed to produce an accounting, or if you have concerns that an accounting may be fraudulent, our attorneys can assist you in requesting a formal accounting in court.

Seeking Damages and Disputing Fiduciaries’ Fees

When personal representatives and trustees violate their fiduciary duties, they can be held both legally and financially accountable. We represent clients in fiduciary litigation involving claims for damages as well as disputes involving allegations of excessive fees.

Spotlight: Challenging a Will Based on Undue Influence

In many cases, family members and other loved ones will seek to set aside a decedent’s will on the grounds that it was executed under “undue influence.” In legal terms, undue influence involves asserting oneself in order to coerce someone else into signing a will against his or her own free will. When a New Jersey court determines that a will is a product of undue influence, it can deem the will invalid.

Some of the factors the New Jersey courts consider when assessing allegations of undue influence include:

  • Whether the beneficiary accused of exercising undue influence was present during the will’s execution.
  • Whether the beneficiary knew of the will’s contents prior to execution.
  • Whether the beneficiary recommended the attorney who drafted the will or was in contact with the testator’s attorney during the will’s drafting.
  • Whether the beneficiary assisted in identifying the witnesses who observed the will’s execution.
  • Whether the beneficiary made any negative comments about the testator’s heirs or sought to isolate the testator from family.

Deciding whether to challenge a will on the basis of undue influence (or on any grounds) requires thorough research and careful consideration of the potential implications of having the will invalidated. Our attorneys can help you assess your options and develop a strategic plan for enforcing your loved one’s final wishes and protecting your inheritance rights.

Get Help from the New Jersey Fiduciary Litigation Attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

Do you need legal representation for a fiduciary dispute arising during probate or trust administration in New Jersey? If so, the attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can help. To schedule a confidential initial consultation as soon as possible, call us at 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can help online now.

 

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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