Arguing Over an Estate

The loss of a family member is does irrevocable damage on the survivors in many ways. Many times assets become a topic of debate for remaining family members. Our expertise in trust litigation can help you navigate through it all. We handle everything from beneficiary claims and defense of trustees to breach of a fiduciary duty and trust misappropriation. Here is a story of one woman’ journey through trust litigation after her father passed away.

The death of a parent is a trying time even in the best of circumstances.  Tracy in Wisconsin is coping with the added burden of a squabble that’s broken out among her siblings over their late father’s will. And she’s looking ways to resolve it.

…A week after my father was buried, the sale of a house (he owned half) was completed. The executor (my sister) then informed us that during my father’s last days he supposedly signed a note leaving my other sister, his caretaker and co-executor, a much larger sum of money for taking care of him than we had verbally agreed upon, and that the executor had already cut a check for her. The rest of us have not yet to see any documents…. I would like to resolve this in some was without having to go to court – where can I find more information?

Tracy O., Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

We can’t give legal advice, but having gone through this ourselves, we can say that the loss of a parent can, on occasion, bring out the worst in siblings. At the very time you need the parent to step in and help resolve the tension, their absence is all the more painful.

Depending on how your father’s will is written, the executor can have a great deal of discretion over how assets are divvied up. In many cases, difficulties arise over the disposition of personal effects, especially those for which multiple siblings have a strong emotional attachment. Something as simple as Dad’s worthless rocking chair can suddenly cast an unexpected spell as a family heirloom with a powerful connection to multiple childhoods.

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