Litigating in court is not easy, and should be considered as a last resort, but it is sometimes necessary to enforce your rights.
Going to court is intimidating to many people, but the court plays an important role in the administration of estates and trusts. The court is there to provide guidance and enforce the rights of both fiduciaries and beneficiaries.
The first step in administering an estate is to have the Will allowed by the court. But disputes sometimes arise over whether a Will is valid. A Will could be invalid if it wasn’t executed correctly, or if it was the result of fraud, duress, or undue influence. Even if a Will is valid, it could contain ambiguous terms, and be difficult to interpret. Although Trusts aren’t automatically subject to Probate Court, these same issues can arise in the trust context.
Thankfully, interested parties can challenge a Will that’s been offered for probate. If a fiduciary is confused by a Will or trust, they can petition for instructions, or petition for declaratory judgment that their particular interpretation is correct.
If a beneficiary feels that they have been wronged, they can request that the fiduciary file an accounting to illustrate their official acts. And if the beneficiary still feels wronged, then they can challenge the propriety of those acts, and seek recompense.
When all else fails, the court is there, but it’s important to have someone guide you through it.