Estate and Trust Litigation
A personal representative, trustee, guardian, or other fiduciary bears duties of accountability to interested persons and to the courts. The fiduciary also has many responsibilities to his or her principal. The attorneys at Elville & Associates have the background and experience necessary to assert and defend fiduciary claims. Our fiduciary representation attorneys are also trust and estate attorneys and draw on that substantive knowledge when managing a claim that arises within a fiduciary matter.
The attorneys at Elville & Associates routinely represent trustees and personal representatives with a fiduciary duty and obligation to defend an estate or trust. We also represent as heirs who feel they have been unfairly omitted from a loved one’s estate.
In advising fiduciaries seeking to avoid litigation, our attorneys counsel the fiduciary concerning how to avoid claims and provide guidance - before any litigation arises - to put the fiduciary in the best possible position in the event litigation does commence.
In all fiduciary-related cases, from asserting the rights of a fiduciary, defending a fiduciary, to fiduciary removal, the goal of Elville & Associates is to counsel clients throughout this emotionally difficult and turbulent time. In all cases involving the death of a loved one and where a family member is a fiduciary (or beneficiary), it is especially important that clients receive objective advice to reduce the emotional impact of litigation and obtain results as quickly as possible.
Our attorneys routinely represent clients in fiduciary/estate litigation matters involving the following:
- Representation to obtain court declarations regarding the duties of a trustee and the rights of the beneficiaries under the terms of a trust;
- Representation to pursue caveat proceedings (Will challenges) involving Last Wills & Testaments on grounds including undue influence, fraud, and mental incapacity;
- Representation to obtain court approvals for specific transactions without the need to appoint a guardian of a disabled adult (without the need for guardianship);
- Representation to defend personal representatives against accusations of undue influence;
- Representation to remove personal representatives who misappropriate estate funds for their own use;
- Representation to obtain declarations of rights regarding property believed to have been wrongfully taken from decedents’ control during their lifetimes;
- Representation to defend personal representatives and trustees against the claims of disgruntled heirs and creditors;
Disputes involving a Last Will & Testament begin in the Orphans’ Court, while disputes involving trusts begin in the Circuit Court. The attorneys at Elville & Associates have extensive experience in both courts. Having this experience, as well as vast experience in counseling clients in the drafting and preparing of Wills and trusts, our fiduciary representation attorneys have a unique perspective when it comes to asserting and defending causes of action as well as avoiding such litigation before its commencement.