Estate, Trust & Fiduciary Litigation

Estate, Trust & Fiduciary Litigation

The transfer of property from one generation to the next is wrought with difficult legal and tax issues.

Questions families often grapple with include:  Is mom competent to sign the house over to one child? Is dad competent to sign a trust document that excludes a different child? Is mom’s judgment colored by her daughter who lives next door to her? Is your sister who is in charge of your mother’s finances not sharing information with you? Is your brother handling the probate of your father’s estate correctly? Who’s looking over your sister’s shoulder while she is serving as power of attorney for your parents? Where are the checks and balances for your brother who is serving as trustee of your parents’ trust?  Do siblings suspect you are not carrying out the wishes expected of you by your aging parents?

Caring for family members can sometimes create complicated dynamics within families.  Emotional situations can breed conflict.  Our attorneys approach each matter with empathy and clarity, collaborating to provide clients with the best possible advice.

Our representation can begin when family members are living or after they’ve passed – our services are full circle.  We represent trustees and beneficiaries of trusts when questions exist and disputes arise, we work with parties in will contests and probate litigation matters, and we counsel agents acting pursuant to powers of attorneys to help prevent them from being sued and to defend them when they are sued. We also handle contested guardianship matters.

Our recent experience in the area of estate and fiduciary litigation includes:

  • Successful representation of a creditor whose rights were significantly impaired by the conduct of an agent acting under a durable power of attorney;
  • Successful representation of an agent acting under a durable power of attorney in the dismissal of a guardianship petition;
  • Successful representation to obtain guardianship and protective placement when resisted by the ward;
  • Successful representation of an elderly adult who opposed guardianship proceedings initiated by children;
  • Successful reformation of an irrevocable trust to appoint a new trustee selected by trust beneficiaries;
  • Successful removal of a guardian on behalf of a ward in a guardianship proceeding;
  • Successful petition to have trust assets returned to the original owner; and
  • Successful removal of a trustee on behalf of a trust beneficiary.

Examples of estate and fiduciary litigation matters handled by Ruder Ware attorneys include:

  • Will contests
  • Lack of testamentary capacity to make a will
  • Lack of capacity to execute a trust
  • Undue influence
  • Mistake
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Trust reformation and amendment
  • Interpretation and construction proceedings
  • Noncompliance with formalities
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly
  • Financial abuse and exploitation of disabled individuals and minors
  • Capacity to gift, convey real estate, and to contract
  • Capacity to execute power of attorney documents

Founded in 1920, Ruder Ware provides business, employment, estate planning, and litigation services through its offices in Wausau, Eau Claire, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.  A full-service law firm, over 40 attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, Business Attorneys for Business Success.

Breaking News: Social Security Administration Announces 5.9% Benefit Increase for 2022

Posted on October 13, 2021 by

Today, the Social Security Administration announced in a press release that approximately seventy million Americans who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (“COLA”) seeing an increase in their benefits of 5.9% in 2022. Sixty-four million Social Security beneficiaries will see their 5.9% COLA increase in January 2022. Eight […]

Protecting Your Inheritance

Posted on September 20, 2021 by

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Estate Planning Considerations for Unmarried Individuals

Posted on September 1, 2021 by

Estate planning is a process that must be customized to fit each individual’s unique situation.  Each individual has their own priorities and issues to address.  The priorities and issues for an unmarried individual are often different than those for married couples.  Some of the common priorities and issues that arise in estate planning for unmarried […]

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Posted on August 4, 2021 by

If you’re preparing to send a child off to college this fall, you should add two documents to your back-to-school checklist: (1) a power of attorney for health care, and (2) a durable power of attorney for finances.  Without these two documents, you may not have the authority to make health care decisions or manage […]

Step-By-Step Overview of Probate

Posted on July 22, 2021 by

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Plan Ahead to Make Summer Memories at the Family Cabin Last Forever

Posted on June 16, 2021 by

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Matthew J. Shin Joins Ruder Ware

Posted on April 23, 2021 by

Matthew Shin’s intellectual property and business transactions practice has supported the development and commercialization of new technologies, products, and services in laboratories, factories, and computing systems around the world.      

Attorney Andrew Lorenz Joins Ruder Ware

Posted on April 23, 2021 by

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IRS Releases Publication on RMDs for Inherited Retirement Benefits (and, of course, creates confusion)

Posted on April 19, 2021 by and

Ruder Ware’s Trusts & Estates blog has featured several posts (for example, Call to Action: Review Your Estate Plan in Light of the SECURE Act and Why SECURE Act Matters to You) on the SECURE Act, a federal law effective January 1, 2020,  that made significant changes to the payout provisions of inherited retirement benefits, […]

Proposed Gift and Estate Tax Changes Mean Some May Need to Act Now

Posted on April 9, 2021 by and

In the United States Congress, there is an arduous journey before a bill becomes law.  See the classic School House Rock! video, “I’m Just a Bill.”  But there is a common theme running through some gift and estate tax bills that have been introduced in Congress this year.  That is: an appropriate way to raise […]

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