Trust Litigation

Did you know that even when creating a trust, legal disputes can happen in the future that cause your loved ones and even your trustee to end up in court? As an Alaska trust litigation lawyer can tell you, this can be a very expensive and involved process. Having the support of an experienced trust litigation attorney in Alaska can help ease your fears if you are an interested party or stakeholder who needs to understand the process.

Trust litigation is notoriously complex because of the many different factors involved and there are very few attorneys who take on the additional time and responsibility to become a trust litigator. This often takes years of experience with these types of cases, dedication and education regarding these complex legal concepts. Disputes that are associated with the incompetency or death of a family member often require attorneys to provide a strategic advice.

As a trust litigation attorney in Alaska can tell you, it often makes the most sense to make every effort possible to avoid litigation and work towards favorable settlements. However, favorable settlements are not always possible, meaning that you’ll want to have an attorney with extensive trial experience. Working in the most contentious disputes can be overwhelming and can put strain on family relationships. Knowing your rights and responsibilities comes with hiring an experienced litigation attorney.

Types of Litigation Cases

Trust litigation falls under the general umbrella of probate disputes. Probate disputes involve any legal dispute associated with the administration of a person’s estate or the validity of a document related to their estate planning, such as a living will or a power of attorney. Some of the most common issues have to do with a trustee’s actions, terminating and modifying trusts and construction of trusts.

However, these are just a small sampling of the type of probate disputes that might wind up in court. Other examples of estate litigation includes breach of fiduciary duty cases, will contests, conflicts associated with non-taxable and taxable gifts, citation proceedings and contested claims over recovering assets, accountings, arbitration and mediation, appeals, charitable pledge disputes and closely held business interests contested issues.

With so much at stake for the outcome of a case like this, it is imperative to retain an attorney who has worked in this field before. The process of probate litigation typically involves identifying the assets of the deceased, determining payment of taxes and other expenses and finally, distributing property. When it relates to a trust, the administration of a trust falls to the responsibility of the trustee.

This trustee is usually a third party like a family member, a lawyer, a certified public accountant or a corporation or bank that was granted the fiduciary duty to carry out trust directives. This means that they are responsible for carrying out the wishes of the creator of that trust in the interest of beneficiaries and this person is usually paid from funds in the trust for their work. The person or persons who have the right to receive trust property, inheritances or gifts are known as beneficiaries. Probate litigation can arise as a result of dysfunctional families, unclear estate plans, non-standard estate plans, or unscrupulous fiduciaries.

Trust construction suits, for example, are asked that the court evaluate the legal effect or meaning of a particular word used in a trust. These interpretations can have important ramifications for everyone involved in the administration of the estate. If you have further questions about this process, schedule a consultation with an attorney.

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