Disputes Involving Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys, and Guardianships

Legal Article

Disputes Involving Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys, and Guardianships

It is normally easy to execute distributions from wills, trusts, powers of attorney, or guardianships. However, in cases where there are disputes involving wills, trusts, power of attorneys, and guardianship, complex litigation is likely to occur. These disputes could happen during any will, trust, power of attorney, or guardianship. Nevertheless, litigation tends to arise when the documents include substantial assets, a benefactor dies after having exhibited symptoms of diminished mental faculties, or when a family member or close friend assumed an unusually large role in an individual’s financial affairs. Because these disputes involve close family members or friends, they can be solved in private by close examination of the legal document. In situations where litigation does occur, the following reasons are the most common causes.

Common Disputes Involving Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorneys, and Guardianships

The first reason why a dispute may occur is that one party suspects that the will or trust documents were ambiguously drafted with inadequate explanations regarding the distribution pattern. Typically, disputes of this nature will arise when someone attempts to draft their own last will and testament or establish their own trust without the help of an experienced attorney. Not only do benefactors question the legitimacy of these documents, however, they often result in significant tax issues. This type of dispute also commonly occurs if assets such as stock, real estate, or personal property which are owned by the individual may not be sufficiently described within the will or trust. Additionally, the intended placement of such assets could cause issues. This is another area where the lack of experienced legal help will cause disagreements.

The second reason why a dispute may occur involves individuals who were elderly or infirm changing the distribution pattern of assets. In these instances, questions can arise concerning if an individual had the capacity to participate in legal decisions. Undue influence is commonly a part of these claims. This is especially difficult as family members begin to accuse each other of working to change the documents. Finally, these issues will also likely involve different versions of a dispositive document. These documents attach to the true and final will.

Third, a family member of an incapacitated individual might claim that the incapacitated individual’s power of attorney overstepped their authority. They may claim a multitude of wrongdoings in this section. These claims include transferring funds, modifying the benefactor’s designation of assets, or use the benefactors funds in unapproved ways. These claims can be made both while an incapacitated individual is alive and after they have died. As such, these claims are extremely complex.

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

For more than 20 years, Antonoplos & Associates has practiced estate planning for clients throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

For more information on disputes involving wills, trusts, power of attorneys, and guardianships, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.