Dakota County Probate Attorney
Helping Our Clients Prove the Validity of Trusts & Wills in Hastings
A loved one’s legacy can ease the pain of loss by reminding heirs of a departed family member’s enduring love. However, when questions arise concerning the validity of plans for the recently deceased’s estate, legal and personal conflict can prevent closure as well as the distribution of assets. At Martha Sullivan, Attorney at Law, our lawyer is experience in litigating complicated probate matters in and out of the courtroom. We can help our clients prove or disprove the validity of an estate plan and ensure the property ends up in the correct hands.
If you have reason to believe an executor, trustee, or estate administrator is mismanaging estate or trust assets, you have the right to seek legal action against them. Likewise, if you are an executor, trustee, or estate administrator and you believe you are being falsely accused of mismanaging estate or trust assets, you have the legal right to protect yourself from these allegations. Our Dakota County probate litigation attorney is skilled and experienced in all aspects of probate law and will aggressively advocate for your best interests.
Challenges to the Validity of a Will or Trust
One cannot simply state they believe something to be amiss with an estate. You must be able to prove an estate plan is invalid by providing proof.
Some examples of proof include:
- Lack of Capacity: This means that the deceased was not of sound mind when they signed the documents for a will or trust. For example, a person with dementia or another condition that affects mental faculties creates and signs a new plan shortly before they pass away.
- Undue Influence: This could occur if someone close to the estate holder uses mental and/or emotional manipulation to gain special considerations in the will or trust. For example, this person could convince the estate holder to grant them more estate funds than the rest of the beneficiaries.
- Fraud: This alleges that the estate holder was deceived about the contents of their estate plan at the time they signed it. For example, a beneficiary looking to gain more estate assets than what is in the current document could alter the directive without informing the estate holder.
- Void Due to Vagueness: This means that the terms of an estate plan are too general and open to more than one interpretation. When this occurs, a beneficiary or challenger could prevent part of or the entire plan from implementation.
Many disputes stem from suspicions of a certain beneficiary taking advantage of the declining health of the recently deceased estate holder. The court takes estate disputes seriously and will look at all provided evidence and testimony before making a final decision. For this reason, its important you have a skilled and experienced attorney at your side to effectively represent your position.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
An executor, estate administrator, or trustee is a fiduciary with a legal obligation to properly manage the assets of a trust or estate according to the guidelines in estate planning documentation. The fiduciary must perform at a standard of professionalism to ensure no estate assets are lost due to waste, fraud, misallocation, or mismanagement. Beneficiaries can challenge negligent or deliberate misconduct and demand a full accounting of the estate by an outside third party. Our attorney is well-versed in the dealings of this issue on either side. We have close associations with top forensic accountants who can render accurate assessments of asset management and help to assemble evidence to prove or rebut these allegations.
Established Trust and Estate Litigation Lawyer in Dakota County
Martha Sullivan, Attorney at Law is made up of an experienced attorney and staff who are well-versed in all aspects of estate planning law and litigation. This means that when you choose to work with our firm you are choosing to work with a lawyer and supporting staff who can effectively and efficiently help you obtain a positive outcome.
“I would rehire Martha in a second because she is professional.”- Former Client
“She's easy to communicate with and gets information back to you in a timely manner.”- Former Client
“We have always appreciated your assistance.”- Former Client