Probate and trust litigation occurs when there are issues with a will, including oversight, or there are challenges with some part of a trust, such as the assignment of power of attorney. When families disagree, a probate and trust attorney can offer objective legal advice, as well as strong advocacy.
Often times, after a loved one dies, families are surprised by the contents of the will. When this happens, they often wonder if the will is legally valid. There are several legal grounds for contesting a will. These include, but are not limited to:
- The person signing the will was not of sound mind
- The person signing the will did not have knowledge of the contents of the will or did not approve of what it said
- The person signing the will was coerced and/or forced to include specifics that were against their wishes
- The will was improperly executed
- The will was fraudulent or forged
If you suspect that any of these types of issues exist, you should contact a probate and trust lawyer.
Probate and Trust Litigation: Breach of Fiduciary Duty
When dealing in trusts and wills, certain people have fiduciary duties under Florida law, including:
- Personal representatives
A fiduciary duty means that one must act in the best interests of another party. So, for example, a trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries. A guardian has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of a minor.
A breach of the fiduciary duty occurs when a person with a fiduciary duty to another party instead acts in their own best interests, or the best interests of a third party, which causes financial damage to the person to whom the duty was originally owed.
Probate and Trust Litigation: Power of Attorney Challenges
When someone signs a power of attorney, they are essentially giving another person the power to act on their behalf. Often times, this means giving them power over their finances, health care decisions, and property management.
There are several ways to challenge a power of attorney. Some of the most common include:
- When the person giving power of attorney is not of sound mind
- When the legal procedures required by law were not followed
- When the person who was given power of attorney, also known as the agent, is abusing their authority
Whether there is a legal challenge to a person’s decision about a power of attorney is almost always a fact-specific issue. A careful review of the events leading up to the decision, the facts surrounding execution, and the conduct after the agent began exercising their duties, is required.
If You Need a Probate and Trust Litigation Lawyer
If your family is facing a challenge related to a will, a power of attorney, or a trust, contact the Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman, PA. We have over 35 years of experience representing families in probate and trust litigation. Internal familial conflict is always difficult, but our probate and trust lawyers will work with you to make certain your loved one’s wishes are respected and carried out. Contact us today at (561) 734-5552 to schedule an appointment.