Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation
Sometimes even careful estate planning may result in litigation. A will may leave children or other beneficiaries of an estate unhappy, favoring one to the exclusion of others. In other situations, a recent “friend” or new spouse of an elderly person suddenly inherits an entire estate, contrary to long-standing promises of the decedent to other relatives or beneficiaries, raising questions of “undue influence.” Unfortunately, in some cases, the person entrusted to handle the fiduciary role of executor or administrator of an Estate sees the Estate’s funds as their personal piggy bank. In yet other circumstances, an individual may die intestate, without having prepared proper estate planning documents, setting off litigation in Probate Court or Orphans’ Court among potential heirs.
In each of these circumstances, both the Estate and the potential beneficiaries may need to consult with, and retain, experienced probate counsel to handle the litigation. At Earp Cohn, our Estate and Probate Litigation Group has many years of confident, reliable experience in these cases to assist you – whether you are the Executor or administrator defending an Estate, or are a potential heir or beneficiary who needs to institute litigation to obtain your rightful claim to the assets of the Estate.
Trusts set up by a family member may also precipitate litigation. Beneficiaries of the Trust may seek relief in court relating to the trustee’s improper control of the funds which are designated for the trust beneficiaries, or a trustee’s mismanagement of the trust assets.
At Earp Cohn, we recognize the difficult situations that lead to estate or trust litigation, and, where possible, we try to get these cases resolved in a way that allows a continued relationship among the family members or other parties who may be contesting a will or trust’s directives. When it becomes necessary, though, our litigation team is prepared to do what it takes to vindicate our clients’ rights, including trial in the New Jersey Superior Court Probate Part, or in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Orphans’ Court.