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.

Wisconsin Face Covering Mandate to Begin August 1st

Posted on July 30, 2020 by

Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #1 on July 30, 2020 implementing a statewide face covering mandate. The face covering requirement will begin on Saturday, August 1, 2020 and will expire September 28, 2020 or by a subsequent superseding emergency order. The Order requires every individual over the age of five in Wisconsin wear a face […]

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 […]

IRS Provides More Retirement Plan and IRA Relief

Posted on June 24, 2020 by

Yesterday, the IRS issued additional guidance regarding two hot topics over the last six months: the waiver of the 2020 required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement plans and IRAs, and the change in the required beginning date for RMDs from age 70 ½ to age 72. Extension and Expansion of 60-Day Rollover for 2020 RMDs […]

IRS Provides Information on Where to Send Deceased Individual’s Stimulus Check

Posted on May 7, 2020 by

On the same day we published the article My Deceased Family Member Received a COVID-19 Stimulus Check, Now What? the IRS provided guidance on how to return stimulus payments that were made under the CARES Act to deceased individuals. If your deceased family member or relative received a paper check by mail, you should follow these […]

My Deceased Family Member Received a COVID-19 Stimulus Check, Now What?

Posted on May 6, 2020 by

There has been significant publicity surrounding the issue of deceased individuals receiving stimulus checks under the CARES Act.  It is far more common than you may think, simply because of the speed in which our government operated to send out the payments.  The stimulus checks were issued to individuals that met certain income requirements and […]

You Have Been Named as an Agent Under a Wisconsin Power of Attorney: Now What?

Posted on April 29, 2020 by and

Maybe you were informed ahead of time or maybe you found out when you were first called upon to act.  In any event, someone (a parent, a sibling, a friend, a neighbor) named you as their agent or attorney-in-fact under a Wisconsin power of attorney for finances.[1]  Now what?[2] What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities?  […]

IRS Extends 60-Day Rollover Deadline

Posted on April 17, 2020 by

In our recent blog post, The Early Bird RMD Doesn’t Get the Tax Relief Worm, we provided guidance regarding the suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”).  We advised that if you already took your RMD for 2020, the CARES Act may allow you […]

Charitable Giving in the Age of COVID-19

Posted on April 15, 2020 by and

As many churches in our area celebrated Easter in their parking lots or over video recordings, we cannot help but think what impact the coronavirus is having on not just churches but other local nonprofit organizations in our communities.  Loss of jobs or lowered salaries have left many people cutting non-essential expenses, including club memberships […]

The Early Bird RMD Doesn’t Get the Tax Relief Worm

Posted on April 6, 2020 by and

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) into law on March 27, 2020.  Ruder Ware’s COVID-19 Focus Team provided a summary of the CARES Act in a previous blog post.  In that post, they mentioned that the CARES Act suspends most required […]

How Do You Create a Valid Will in Wisconsin?

Posted on March 31, 2020 by

In our blog post on estate planning in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa Kampmann and I noted that it isn’t possible to create a valid will in Wisconsin without two witnesses, and it isn’t the best practice to create a will without two witnesses and a notary public.  But there’s more to creating […]

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