Trust and Estate Litigation
Family disputes can originate from the most judiciously drafted trust and estate agreements, often contested due to unanticipated events, lack of compliance in duties, and disruption and collapse in familial dynamics and relationships. At Loftus & Eisenberg, we are experienced in handling cases resulting from will contests, lack of clarity in the language of a will or trust, undue influence, breaches of fiduciary duty, ownership of real property that is part of an estate, trust reformation, lawsuits against an estate, delayed distribution of trust funds, and assets missing from a trust. The extensive trusts and estate litigation expertise at our firm represents people throughout the Chicago area and elsewhere in Cook County in a broad range of disputes.Disputes Arising From Trust And Estate Instruments
Trust and estate disputes often originate from will contests centering around often determining the validity of a will. In the state of Illinois, interested parties can contest the validity of a will within six months of it being admitted to probate and that interested party contesting the will has a right to a jury trial.
A trustee’s breach of fiduciary duty is another popular cause of disputes. Trustees have various fiduciary duties, such as duties of loyalty, impartiality, and care. Among other duties, trustees must follow a “prudent investor rule” which states that the trustee must treat the investments as if they were his/her own and execute investment tactics that use satisfactory judiciousness including diversifying investments, actively managing, an though no investments are forbidden, act prudently avoiding uncertain investments that might largely threaten the performance of the trust assets. For those with special expertise, it is expected the trustee apply it with executing trust management. Any trustee with expertise who disregards this directive is subject to be held accountable. However, trustees will probably not be held legally responsible for an adverse outcome if that person acted judiciously and an unpredicted event transpired, such as a pandemic or significant economic downtown.
Another type of trust and estate dispute can arise when beneficiaries believe that a trustee has misused or embezzeled funds. If this allegation arises, the court can assign a trustee ad litem and command the use of the existing trust. In order to be awarded an injunction, the beneficiary will need to prove that he or she has indistinct rights that requires safeguard, that the case will probably prosper on its merits alone, and that without the injunction, irreversible harm is bound to occur and that there is no other passable remedy.
Even if seemingly clear when it is written, trust documents can end up misinterpreted by different parties, and overall cause conflict and disputes. In these cases, either trustee or a beneficiary can bring upon a trust construction action. The courts attempt to decipher trusts with the purpose of executing the intents of the creator of the trust, otherwise known as the settlor, as conveyed in the document. Courts only look at additional data and substantiation when the level of uncertainty in the trust itself is excessive, therefore the intent cannot be concluded. The business trial lawyers at Loftus & Eisenberg know that these types of family disputes, especially those that involve money or high valued assets, can cause serious conflicts within families, and are skillful in helping resolve without delay and more complications.