Minnesota Probate And Trust Litigation Lawyers
Probate litigation does not always result in financial benefits to the heirs or beneficiaries in the long run. Probate litigation is expensive, can lead to hard feelings among family members and can delay the final distribution of assets. At the St. Paul law firm of Mason & Helmers, we advise clients about the best ways to avoid probate litigation.
Reducing the Likelihood and Extent of Probate Litigation — the Basics
Will contests and fiduciary litigation are types of probate litigation that can sometimes be avoided or reduced in scope with proper planning. Another way to avoid disputes is to be sure that all involved understand the probate process. Additionally, personal representatives or executors can help prevent conflicts if they refrain from antagonizing heirs, family members and creditors.
Factors affecting the level of conflict include:
- A family member being nominated as personal representative; the firm can assist with having a neutral appointed
- The existence of second spouses or second families
- Pre-death transfers to relatives or third parties
- Transfer of assets from a parent to a child for care during the parent’s lifetime
- Use of a power of attorney to exploit a vulnerable individual
When Probate and Estate Litigation Cannot Be Avoided
Inheritance disputes can be about love, money or control. The factors that drive probate disputes frequently center on family dynamics and frictions that span decades. The firm recognizes that the court’s primary concern in inheritance disputes is determining whether the decedent’s wishes are honored. In addition to litigation, the firm uses alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation or arbitration.
Common Issues in Inheritance Litigation
The St. Paul attorneys at Mason & Helmers advise clients on the following inheritance issues:
- Will contests
- Trust contests
- Undue influence
- Questions of legal capacity to execute a will, trust or other document
- Emotional and psychological aspects of probate litigation
- Removal of fiduciaries, including trustees, personal representatives or executors and attorneys in fact
- Problems arising from disposition of business assets
- Issues related to nontraditional families
- Issues related to adopted children
- Rights of spouses or other heirs who have been omitted as beneficiaries from a will or trust or were left less than expected
- Abuse of powers of attorney
- Changes to ownership of joint bank accounts and joint brokerage accounts or changes to beneficiary designations
The firm is always conscious of the emotional and psychological issues that are prevalent in inheritance proceedings and distinguish probate and trust litigation from other types of litigation. Because of their experience in matters such as these, the firm’s attorneys are well-suited to advise clients about the best ways to avoid or minimize probate and trust litigation.
To learn more about probate litigation, contact Mason & Helmers today. The firm’s attorneys serve clients in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond in probate matters. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.