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Understanding the Emotional Elements of Trust and Estate Disputes

 Posted on August 27, 2020 in Estate Planning Blog

Wheaton estate planning lawyerTrust and estate litigation is a unique area of law, and it usually requires the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. This is because trust and estate litigation does not conform to the model of a typical lawsuit. The issues involved are generally motivated not by the specifics of a trust and how it is set up, but by the emotional content of the family baggage and conflict behind the dispute.

Danger Ahead: Unresolved Family Issues in a Court of Law

The most unique aspect applicable to many cases dealing with trust and estate law is that the clients are usually contending with a situation that is occurring in the context of an unfortunate family tragedy—that is, the death of a loved one. This adds a different dynamic to the needs of the client and how they will be best served by legal representation.

Among the initial concerns in a will or trust dispute are, in many cases, unresolved family dynamics. These unresolved issues (often years or decades in the making) must be addressed under very difficult circumstances, such as when somebody has recently passed away, and in the challenging forum of the courts. The attorney you retain to represent your interests needs to be sensitive to the family issues and be capable of resolving them in such a way that maintains family unity and prevents it from becoming fractured by bitter litigation.

Unique Challenges Arise in Trust and Estate Law

Some of the specialized legal aspects involved in trust and estate law include probable intent and issues related to elective shares:

  • Probable Intent: The body of law regarding probable intent comes into play when a will has been written in such a way that it does not make clear what the creator of the will intended. Alternatively, it may be clear what the person wanted, in a general sense, but the legal language required to carry out the decedent’s wishes is not present. Other inconsistencies, such as typographical errors or missing signatures, may lead to potential issues as well.
  • Elective Shares: Elective share laws specify that a person cannot disinherit a surviving spouse beyond a certain fraction of their estate. In Illinois, for example, a surviving spouse is generally entitled to claim an elective share of one-half of the decedent’s estate if the deceased person had no descendants, and one-third of the state if there are descendants. In such a case, the decedent may have written the will believing that he or she disinherited their spouse entirely. This could lead to serious complications during probate and the execution of the will.

Speak With a Lombard Estate Administration Lawyer

If you are contending with a will or trust dispute, it is important to seek guidance from a qualified legal professional. Contact a skilled DuPage County estate planning attorney at A. Traub & Associates today. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation with a member of our team, and get the help you need in protecting your inheritance rights.



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