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Norristown Pa Estate Litigation Lawyers
Most estates, especially when there is a proper will in place, are easily settled. Yet there are times when other factors complicate the issue, creating a situation that requires more careful consideration. For example, a family business, an estate that is in bankruptcy or an estate that holds significant amounts of real estate may become complicated quite quickly. This is where estate litigation comes into play.
When an estate or a will is contested and the case has to go to court, the right Pennsylvania estate litigation attorney is required to ensure an individual’s best interests are protected. John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. is a Pennsylvania estate litigation attorney who is ready to fight for the interests of his clients in complex estate cases.
Aggressive, Knowledgeable Representation
When estates become complex, the case sometimes has to go to court to be resolved. When that happens, Attorney John Whalen provides aggressive representation backed by a firm knowledge of estate law. With potential disputes involving everything from clauses in a will or trust to claims from a third-party transaction with the deceased individual, the number of complexities that can come up in these cases is extensive, and those who are in the midst of a case will want an experienced attorney on their sides.
Attorney John Whalen understands the complexities of Pennsylvania’s estate law, and is ready to help individuals understand their rights as they settle an estate. From creating the initial will or trust to ensuring that as much of the estate as possible is protected, he offers the benefit of a deep knowledge of estate law and the experience of many years in the legal field with a focus on estate planning. Find out more with a free consultation to discuss your situation.
Control Litigation Costs
In an estate case, litigation costs can skyrocket out of control quite quickly. Having proper representation helps prevent that from happening. Attorney Whalen will help keep costs in check while protecting the rights of those left behind in an estate case. All alternatives are explored to ensure that the most cost-effective solution is chosen when a question is addressed.
Attorney John B. Whalen, Jr., Esq., understands both the emotional and financial implications of an estate litigation case. That is why he maintains a close connection with his clients, to ensure that he understands the goals and desires of each family served. If you are facing a complex estate battle, make sure your interests and rights are protected with the help of Attorney John Whalen.
Challenges to the Validity of a Pa Last Will or a Pa Trust
A loved one’s legacy can ease the pain of loss by reminding heirs of a departed family member’s enduring love. But when questions arise about the validity of testamentary documents or the management of estate assets, uncertainty can arouse animosity and prevent closure. If you, as a beneficiary, suspect that a will or trust does not reflect the wishes of the deceased, you have a right to challenge the proceedings in court. Similarly, if you believe an executor, trustee or estate administrator is mismanaging the assets of the estate or a trust, you have standing to raise that issue. On the other hand, an executor, trustee or estate administrator is entitled to a vigorous defense against accusations of incompetence or unlawful conduct. John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. provides highly professional representation for aggrieved beneficiaries and accused fiduciaries in estate and trust disputes.
There are several bases for challenging the implementation of testamentary documents. These include:
- Lack of capacity — This ground alleges that the testator was not of sound mind at the time the will or trust was executed.
- Undue influence — Documents might be invalid if a person with access to and power over the testator used emotional manipulation to gain special consideration in the will or trust.
- Fraud — This ground alleges the testator was deceived about the contents of the documents at the time of execution.
- Void for vagueness — This ground asserts that the terms of a will or trust are open to conflicting interpretations and it is impossible to know which interpretation is correct. A challenger can prevent part or all of the will from being implemented.
Many probate and trust disputes stem from suspicions that a particular individual took advantage of the declining health or dementia of the deceased to insinuate himself into the will to the detriment of the rightful heirs. The court looks very harshly on this type of elder exploitation. However, it is important to note that disappointment is not grounds for an heir to challenge a will or trust. All challenges must be supported by reliable evidence.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Pa Estate Settlement and Trust Management
The executor of a will, administrator of an intestate estate or the trustee of a trust is a fiduciary with a legal duty to manage the assets of the trust or estate according to the testator’s wishes and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The fiduciary must perform at a professional standard so that assets are not lost due to waste, fraud, misallocation or mismanagement. Beneficiaries may challenge deliberate or negligent misconduct and demand a full accounting. I have vast experience on both sides of trust and estate controversies. I have close associations with forensic accountants who can render accurate assessments of asset management and help us assemble evidence to prove or rebut allegations.
Don’t expect success if you handle objections yourself.
Many people hesitate to hire an attorney because they wish to keep a family dispute within the family. However, the court may treat your suspicions lightly if you raise them without a professional presentation and a firm basis in the law that an attorney can provide. Moreover, a seasoned attorney who has been through such negotiations before is likely to produce a settlement that satisfies all parties and allows the proceedings to move forward at less cost to the estate.
Contact an established trust and estate litigation lawyer in Pennsylvania
Conflicts among beneficiaries or between beneficiaries and fiduciaries can be very destructive without experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. provides capable representation for beneficiaries and fiduciaries throughout Pennsylvania. Call today at 215-253-8127 or contact the office online to schedule a consultation at my Wayne office.