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Probate & Fiduciary Administration and Litigation

Avoiding Pitfalls

While the administration of an estate, trust or guardianship might appear initially to be straightforward, many unforeseen issues and dilemmas can arise. The types of issues and dilemmas are varied and often dependent upon the particular assets being administered and the differing positions of interested parties. The executor or trustee or guardian, as the case may be, may find himself or herself in a difficult fiduciary role with mostly undefined fiduciary responsibilities and large potential liability. Often, there are decisions to be made with no clear answers and hidden pitfalls.

We assist clients to carry out their fiduciary duties taking into consideration the potential consequences, such as tax or other business impacts, and taking into consideration the potential conflicts that may be created among beneficiaries. We also assist clients who are beneficiaries to understand their legal positions and the available alternatives when they have questions, issues or concerns with the actions or nonactions taken by a fiduciary. Helping our clients, whether they are the fiduciary or a beneficiary, to proactively look at the issues, alternatives and consequences and find a path to an agreement among all the interested parties is a priority of LSS. We believe the key to accomplishing this is to actively communicate with our client and open a line of communication with the other interested parties.

When a legal dispute does arise in the administration process, whether or not an actual lawsuit is filed, there is the “usual” distress a client endures caused by litigation expenses, the uncertainty of the end result, and the requirement to continually respond and provide necessary information and documents and decisions to resolve the dispute. There can also, though, be a great deal of emotional distress as these types of cases often involve disputes among family members after the death of a loved one. Attorneys with LSS have specialized knowledge of the administration process and/or the estate and gift tax consequences to advocate for a client embroiled in a contested estate, trust or guardianship matter. We also understand the strain and disruption these difficult disputes place on you and your family. When you team up with a seasoned attorney at LSS, we’ll work hard to minimize the strain and disruption. We will also strive to resolve your matter in the most economic and private way possible -avoiding formal litigation unless necessary to resolve the matter in your best interest. Again, communication is key – we know that we have to understand you, your case and the other interested parties in order to develop and pursue a resolution on your behalf.

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