– Bad Fiduciaries and Theft from the Estate
When someone passes away, it is usually a period of sadness and an opportunity to bring the family together. Other times, people see it as an opportunity to steal and act in a less than honorable fashion.
If you are affected by one of the following situations, you should not sit quietly by:
- If you feel that a fiduciary is not acting appropriately (such as improperly benefiting themselves or not communicating properly);
- If you believe an testator was unduly influenced before he or she died;
- If you believe someone stole money from a testator (either before or after the person died);
- If you believe someone, other than the testator, changed the beneficiaries on a life insurance contract or retirement plan; and
- If the Will or Trust was poorly drafted, causing confusion.
Waiting for these problems to resolve themselves will usually only cause heartache and financial loss. It can cause heartache because families, that once got along, suddenly become divided. Also, the longer you wait to look into the problems, the stronger the probability that you will never see your inheritance because the money will be spent.
Despite any acrimony, litigation can often be avoided. In particular, many disputes arise because people are worried and they think the fiduciaries (Executors, Administrators and Trustees) are doing something wrong. Failing to advise the beneficiaries as to the status of an administration is one of the biggest causes of litigation, and one of the easiest problems to solve - provided it is not done too late.
Many estate and probate problems can be solved simply by reaching out to the affected parties and working out a settlement. However, sometimes litigation is unavoidable. In either event, we can help.
Attorney Pierson W. Backes has recently joined the firm as Of Counsel to assist us in our growing Estate and Probate Litigation practice.