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.

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

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce the addition of Andrew Lorenz to our Eau Claire attorney team. An Eau Claire native,  Andrew is a 2018 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.  Prior to beginning his legal career he served four years with the United States Marine Corps.  At Ruder Ware, […]

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 […]

Supreme Court of Wisconsin Ends State Mask Mandate on March 31

Posted on March 31, 2021 by and

Today, March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin ended the state-wide mask mandate after finding Executive Order (EO) #105 to be unlawful, ending it immediately.  Governor Tony Evers issued EO #105 shortly after the Wisconsin Legislature revoked EO #104. This decision also blocks Governor Evers from issuing further emergency orders under Wis. Stat. § 323.10 […]

Adult Guardianship 101

Posted on March 17, 2021 by

Our team here at Ruder Ware has focused previous blogs and other educational materials on ways to avoid adult guardianship (see Related Articles section at the end of my post); however, there may be some instances where guardianship is unavoidable.  Earlier this month, I attempted to simplify the guardianship process in my vlog.  This blog […]

What is the Estate Tax and How Does it Work?

Posted on February 17, 2021 by

Earlier this month, I provided a very brief overview of the estate tax in a vlog.  You can view the vlog here.  In this blog post, I’ll expand on estate tax basics. What is the estate tax?  At its foundation, the estate tax is a tax imposed on the transfer of property upon death.  It […]

Stimulus Payments: When Should I File My 2020 Taxes?

Posted on February 11, 2021 by

With Congress still negotiating a third round of stimulus payments, you should carefully consider when to file your taxes this tax season.  Tax season begins February 12th and ends April 15th.  Filing your taxes earlier or later within that time period may determine whether or not you receive the third stimulus payment and how much […]

Holiday Giving: Will My Gifts Have Tax Consequences?

Posted on December 14, 2020 by

The holiday season is a time of giving! With Christmas arriving next week, you might be rushing to find last minute gifts for the special people in your life. Have you considered potential tax consequences of those gifts? The annual gift exclusion for 2020 is $15,000. This means that an individual donor may gift $15,000 […]

Peter, Paul, and Mary Should Make Large Gifts – Now!

Posted on July 30, 2020 by , and

Peter, Paul, and Mary have done well for themselves. Each has a nice home, a seasonal residence, and a large IRA. Coincidentally, each also has an additional $11 million worth of real estate, savings, brokerage accounts, and closely-held business interests. We advised Peter, Paul, and Mary that in 2020 each has a federal gift and […]

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