Probate & Estate Litigation

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Probate & Estate Litigation

The death of a loved one is rarely easy for those left behind. But sometimes, grief and loss are accompanied by disputes and disagreements around the handling of the decedent’s estate or distribution of their assets. Family members, beneficiaries, heirs, creditors, and others who claim an interest in the estate may have competing interests or conflicting interpretations of the decedent’s intentions or their will’s validity. In other cases, concerns may arise regarding the conduct of a trustee, executor, guardian, or other fiduciary regarding how they manage the estate, distribute assets, or otherwise discharge their responsibilities. All too often, these disputes wind up in court.

Experienced Advocacy in Complex and Contentious Estate Disputes

The New Jersey probate and estate litigation attorneys at Ansell Grimm & Aaron have worked with countless individuals and families who have found themselves embroiled in complex and contentious lawsuits involving wills, trusts, and the administration of estates. We match our comprehensive understanding of the law governing these matters and nuances of practice in the Chancery Division with an appreciation of the unique and sensitive interpersonal and family dynamics they often implicate. While we fiercely protect our clients’ rights and interests and will aggressively pursue and defend their claims, we always seek resolutions that minimize conflict, preserve or repair relationships, and bring matters to an expeditious conclusion.

Will Contests

While preparing a will provides clarity and direction for distributing assets after a person passes away, it can also disappoint or anger potential heirs or beneficiaries who may feel shortchanged. In some cases, questions may arise about a will’s validity or the circumstances surrounding its preparation and execution. Allegations that a will was tainted by duress, undue influence, a lack of capacity, failure to follow required formalities, or fraud can lead to costly and lengthy litigation between heirs and others.

Whether we are contesting a will and seeking to set it aside or defending its validity or enforceability, our litigators have the advocacy skills and experience to position our clients for a positive and desired outcome. 

Trust Litigation

Trusts — revocable or irrevocable, for special needs, charitable giving, or other purposes — are widely used and effective estate planning tools. But, given the many parties impacted by the terms of a trust, even the most meticulous trust documents are not immune from disputes, challenges, or diverging interpretations.

Ansell, Grimm & Aaron’s trust litigation attorneys – and our clients — benefit from the knowledge and insights they gain from regularly drafting trust documents and administering estates. This work complements and informs their courtroom advocacy in trust litigation and provides our clients with a clear advantage in these types of disputes.

Fiduciary Litigation

Estate planning often involves trusting others to effectuate a person’s wishes after they pass away. Executors, trustees, guardians, and those given authority over a person’s affairs through a power of attorney have legal and ethical obligations to follow the decedent’s directives as reflected in the trust documents. These individuals’ fiduciary responsibilities require them to set aside their own interests and diligently perform their duties in the best interest of the trust and its beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, a fiduciary can betray the trust given to them and abuse or neglect their duties to the detriment of the individuals they were charged with serving. When a fiduciary engages in self-dealing or fraud or fails to fulfill their role’s obligations, our litigators can move quickly to protect the estate and its beneficiaries, seeking to remove the fiduciary from their position and holding them accountable for any losses or damages.  

If you have concerns about the handling of a trust, will, or estate or question the propriety of a fiduciary’s decisions or actions, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your situation. Please contact Brian E. Ansell, chair of the firm’s Probate and Estate Litigation practice group, to arrange for a consultation.

Probate & Estate Litigation Attorneys

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