Full-Service Skills In One Package

When Probate Litigation Arises From Contentious Estate Or Trust Administration

When a potential beneficiary seeks to contest a will, or when a challenge arises of the efficacy of the estate administrator or other inheritance disputes emerge, it can be a very difficult situation. In addition to the legal complications involved, family relationships can be strained, positions become entrenched and all of this happens in an already challenging time of mourning and loss.

At Herbert Machnik Law Firm, we represent clients in all aspects of trust and estate disputes for clients in Kalamazoo, Jackson and throughout the surrounding areas in Michigan. Our attorneys combine unique knowledge and experience above and beyond probate court with real-world understanding and compassion. Our legal team includes lawyers with skills beyond those confined to probate court alone. Our knowledge of family law dynamics, business law, real estate law, as well as wills and trusts allow us to analyze the full contours of the issues involved in contentious probate disputes.

We realize that you are grieving the loss of a family member or other loved one, and we understand that there could be extremely complex relational dynamics involved in your case. While inheritance disputes may often involve financial issues — we understand that familial relationships and family legacies provide additional complexity to trust litigation, will disputes and other forms of probate litigation. In addition to our legal experience and knowledge, we help our clients navigate the real-world context of estate disputes.

Finding Solutions In A Range Of Complex Trust, Probate And Estate Dispute Matters

We represent clients in disputes involving:

  • Will contests: Potential beneficiaries can challenge the validity of a will, from undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, forgery or other types of falsification or error in writing up the will.
  • Interpretation of the will: There are numerous potential interpretations possible in every clause of a will. When interpretations differ, potential beneficiaries will dispute the correct meaning and result.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty: The will executor or estate administrator carries a fiduciary duty, which means they have to always act in the best interests of the principal (the person who wrote the will). Also, there are specific rules as to how the administrator manages the process, with strict accounting requirements. When executors and administrators err in their duties, the other people involved can bring lawsuits to have them removed and provide compensation for the losses that result from their errors.
  • Trust administration disputes: Whether the administration of a trust becomes contentious related to how family legacies or inheritances are administered through a trust — or whether disputes arise in other forms of trust administration — our team of trust litigation lawyers provide honest, practical and holistic representation for litigants who have any role in the dispute. Trust disputes may include allegations of self-dealing, breach of duty and other challenges to the validity of the trust or administration of the trust.

We can represent you whether you are contesting a will, the administration of a trust, or whether you are a trust or probate administrator, executor or personal representative.

Seeking Amicable Resolution To A Probate Or Trust Dispute Whenever Possible

In most cases, disputes can be resolved without having the stress and expense of courtroom litigation. Our lawyers always seek amicable solutions through mediation as the first and preferred option. However, successful mediation requires both parties to be reasonable and to pursue a resolution together. Similarly, mediation often offers more control of the outcome for all of the opposing parties involved.

Skilled Litigators In Probate Court

However, it is critical to work with an experienced trust administration lawyer when seeking to negotiate or mediate a dispute to help ensure that your financial status, inheritance rights tied to any aspect of the direct dispute are safeguarded in the final resolution of the conflict. When a mediated or negotiated resolution is not possible, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to fight aggressively for our clients in the courtroom.

Regardless of how your case proceeds, we will make sure to work with you to address the personal and family dynamics with empathy and care.

Discuss Your Probate Or Trust Dispute Issues With Our Team

Get the help of experienced, compassionate trust, probate and estate litigation attorneys. Call our law firm at 269-948-7600 or email us to schedule your consultation. We have offices in Kalamazoo and Jackson, Michigan.