Ways To Avoid Trust Litigation To Keep Peace In The Family

Going through trust litigation after someone they love has passed away is not something that people will look forward to. This process can cause relatives to go at each other’s throats, and this can be highly stressful. No one wants to have to deal with arguments and disagreements, especially when you are going through one of the most difficult times in your life. You are already dealing with a loss; how can you make sure there are no family feuds over an …

Estate litigation and common-law marriage: A recent case in Texas

Recently in Southeast Texas, a man filed a lawsuit over what he claims was unlawful interference in the estate of his late common-law wife. According to an article from the Southeast Texas Record, the man had known his late common-law wife for around 15 years, starting as acquaintances and then moving towards friendship and a romantic relationship, with cohabitation beginning in 2014. He claims that they had planned a special ceremony for their common-law marriage, but her health deteriorated, and she …

Guardianship Litigation: How Can You Determine When It Is Needed?

Guardianship Litigation can certainly be a challenging, stressful, and emotional time for a family. For some families and under some certain circumstances, guardianship litigation may be the last hope. However, this process could be avoided if an estate is planned thoroughly and carefully. Typically, a family talks about their loved one’s health and physical and mental abilities to help determine how a loved one will be taken care of. If a family wants to avoid this type of litigation, here are …

Legal Battle over Robin Williams’ Estate

In August of 2014, Robin Williams passed away in his northern California home at the age of 63.  Williams is survived by his spouse, Susan Schneider Williams and his three adult children from prior marriages, Zak Williams, Zelda Williams and Cody Williams.  Robin executed a Will and Trust prior to his death that describe in detail how he intended to divide his estate, which total approximately $45 million. However, Susan Williams has filed suit against the children seeking a Order …

Trust Litigation for Undue Influence: Dealing with Coersion of Kids on a Parent

Trust litigation can be a challenging process when it involves family members attempting to gain a trust without consent of others in the family. This can be a scenario that’s devastating to you if you have a sibling who’s done this without letting you know as means of gaining access to a parent’s assets. It’s a situation we’ve seen many times with our clients at Ford + Bergner LLP, and we can help you through similar situations. But different scenarios …

Guardianship Litigation Can Be Challenging, But Sometimes It Is Necessary

Many people have their struggles with how they are going to help an aging family member or an aging friend or neighbor who can no longer care for himself or herself, in terms of the personal welfare and financial decisions. Many people want to offer their assistance, but they may be unfamiliar on how to get the legal authority to make it happen. The person who may need the help may have not planned ahead by signing any kind of …

When your children aren’t receiving equal inheritance: Advice on soothing feelings and reducing the risk of estate litigation

As you work on your estate planning, one of the decisions you may make is to leave unequal portions of your estate to your child beneficiaries. Maybe you have a good reasons for doing so. However, your children may react to your decision with hurt and anger. Adult children could interpret unequal inheritance as a sign that you also love them unequally. Some might choose to pursue estate litigation contesting your will or other estate documents. But even if they …

Five Steps to Help Avoid Estate Litigation

Having to go to court to settle the estate of a loved one is stressful on many levels. Litigation diminishes the value of your estate and delays its dispersal. Perhaps worst of all, estates embroiled in litigation due to ambiguity and questions about the deceased intent can tear a family apart, leaving lifelong scars. There is action you can take to help avoid having your estate fought over in court. These five steps can add clarity to your intentions and …

Trust Litigation Issue: Considering the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Trust litigation battles can not only be expensive and time-consuming; they may also lead to lasting damage in relationships between family and friends and expose private family problems to the public.  In general, it’s preferable to find a way to resolve trust-related disputes before they become a drawn-out court battle. A recent article from WealthManagement.com discusses the possibility of using mandatory arbitration clauses in trust agreements in order to reduce the chances of a trust conflict turning into a costly and …

Estate Of Famous Modern Artist Loses Fraud Lawsuit

Alexander Calder was a modern artist best know for popularizing mobiles as artwork (you can see examples of his pieces here), and Calder was rare in that he was an artist who achieved great financial success through his art. When he died in 1976, Calder’s pieces were selling for millions of dollars. Museums and art collectors continue to pay top dollar for them today.  In 2010, Calder’s family members, acting on behalf of his estate, filed a lawsuit against his …