Those who take the time to prepare a thoughtful estate plan can protect beneficiaries and assets down the road while cutting down on future disputes. Unfortunately, circumstances may change, or family conflicts may emerge. When that happens, the parties need experienced estate litigation lawyers to help resolve the dispute and carry out the intent of the grantor or decedent.

Estate litigation is not the same as estate planning; the lawyer who drafts the will or trust is not the best choice to litigate a dispute over a will or trust he or she drafted. Executors, beneficiaries, and other individuals who have questions about whether an estate plan was created or executed properly should speak with an experienced estate litigation lawyer who can give informed advice on both the underlying estate planning and the potential legal issues that may arise.

At Pierro, Connor & Strauss, LLC, we pair our Estate Planning practitioners with seasoned litigators to provide comprehensive counsel for the most effective estate dispute resolution.

Special skills of the estate litigation attorney

Estate litigation raises complex questions that require a unique mix of legal skills to resolve. Estate litigation lawyers must have a thorough understanding of the estate planning process as well as the impact such will ultimately have when the wishes of the grantor or decedent are administered. Practitioners must also be strong civil litigators to represent their clients in alternative dispute resolution and in court.  Disputes frequently arise among heirs and beneficiaries around issues of will or trust contests, creditor claims, breaches of fiduciary duty, tax liability, and beneficiary and spousal rights to inherit under the law.

An experienced estate litigation firm can help reduce the delays and costs incurred in reaching a typical legal resolution. The estate litigation lawyers of Pierro, Connor & Strauss are among New York’s most qualified to expose the relevant issues in your legal conflict, provide an open and honest channel of communication, weigh the risks of litigation relative to alternative disputes resolution, and ensure that our clients have the information they need to play an active role in their case.

Estate Litigation Team
Aaron E. Connor
Peter J. Strauss
Caryn B. Keppler
Hanna Dameron

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Estate litigation services

The team at Pierro, Connor & Strauss, LLC counsels clients through all aspects of estate disputes, from identifying potential legal issues to litigating it through trial or settlement.

Some of the common estate disputes we handle are:

Will disputes -Our attorneys not only pursue will contests and interpretation disputes on behalf of interested parties, including challenges on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, and failure to comply with will formalities.

Estate and trust disputes – We regularly represent executors, administrators, trustees and beneficiaries in estate and trust disputes on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duty, failure to inform and report to beneficiaries, and trustee removal actions. We also have deep experience litigating prudent investor act violations and claims under the EPTL and SCPA.

Guardianship disputes – Our attorneys have routinely litigated guardianship matters. As the nation’s population gets progressively older, the number of guardianship disputes has grown considerably. Such disputes often signal that there will be a will or trust issue in the future.. Our team both asserts and defends against claims of abuse of authority under a power of attorney. We also work with guardians seeking court approval to pursue various estate planning actions.

Elder law disputes – Elder law disputes and the exploitation of elderly persons is another area where estate disputes are common. We frequently represent clients in instances where elderly persons are alleged to have been pressured to change their estate planning documents or make gifts. Other common allegations include exploitation of the elderly and parent-napping.

Our team is also equipped to handle estate litigation claims involving:

  • Cy pres petitions, trust reformation proceedings, and complaints for instruction
  • Actions against agents under powers of attorney
  • Removal and surcharge of fiduciaries
  • Charitable trusts and foundations
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Breach of buy/sell agreements
  • Business and asset valuation disputes and challenges to investment decisions

Who needs an estate litigation lawyer?

If you are on any side of an estate planning or trust dispute – as a beneficiary, trustee, heir, someone whose business is involved in an estate, or other party who believes they have a legitimate claim, you may benefit from a consultation with an estate litigation lawyer.

Litigation is a trying experience, especially when personal relationships are involved. We work with clients no matter which role they play in the process, providing transparent information for decision-making and offering creative solutions to satisfy their interests in the subject estate.

Pierro, Connor & Strauss combines the skills of adept litigators with established trust and probate and estate administration lawyers, with the aim of reaching personalized resolution of your estate dispute. Call our office to schedule a private consultation with a New York estate litigation attorney today. We proudly serve Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Greene from our Albany offices and the New York City metropolitan area from our New York City office.

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