Estate Planning

Probate Litigation

Estates:  Heirs, beneficiaries or other interested persons may have the right to challenge proceedings, including contesting wills and trusts and other estate issues.  A thorough examination should be made of all facts and circumstances, including documents that may be involved.  Challenges or litigation in regard to Wills and Trusts can be based on a variety of factors, including undue influence, lack mental capacity, duress and interference with an inheritance expectancy, including relating to the competency of the person when the Will or Trust was made.  In this type of probate litigation, we usually recommend discovery depositions, including in regard to persons who may have witnessed Wills or Trusts being executed.  Sometimes persons that are closest to the maker of the Will or Trust have fiduciary duties, and sometimes those fiduciary duties are violated when those persons prefer themselves in the making of the Will or Trust.

Powers of Attorneys

We have been preparing Power of Attorneys for years, including durable power of attorneys, living wills, healthcare power of attorneys, property power of attorneys, limited power of attorneys and we have experience in regard to removal or revocation of power of attorneys, and appointments of power of attorneys independently or through the Court.

Family Limited Partnership

A family limited partnership is a form of limited partnership (LP) in which family members are the partners. A family limited partnership may reduce or eliminate estate taxes on the assets it holds. The family limited partnership also provides an ownership structure that will ensure continuous family ownership from one generation to the next. The family limited partnership also shelters the assets its owns from creditors, from lawsuit judgements, and from transfer taxation. The FLP is used for asset protection because it allows an individual to maintain full control and enjoyment of his property while divesting himself or herself of legal ownership. The law provides that a creditor of a partner cannot reach the assets of the partnership to satisfy an obligation of the partner since it is the partnership as an entity, not the partner that now owns the asset. Instead, the creditor receives a charging order which in essence causes the creditor to be taxed for income never received. The usual scenario involving an FLP involves a family member who holds significant assets (usually investments or real estate) that can be centrally managed. The family member is usually from an older generation, typically the parents. The parent place certain assets into FLP, and initially serve as both general and limited partners. Eventually, they begin to gift limited partnership interests to their children.

Estate Settlements

We are experienced litigators in the areas of disputes, controversies and contests involving wills, trusts, estates, guardianships and related matters.  Those cases may have to do with breach of fiduciary duties, over-reaching, financial manipulation, fraud, duress, tortious interference with expectancies and matters related thereto.