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Quincy Will Contest Lawyer & Probate and Trust Dispute Attorney
Proudly serving Quincy, Braintree, Hingham, Cohasset, Randolph, Brockton, and the surrounding communities.
If you are involved in a will contest or dispute over a trust or probate administration, you need professional legal guidance. As an experienced will contest lawyer and probate and trust dispute attorney, firm-founding attorney Anthony Gemmy has years of experience with the full range of estate planning and probate administration issues, including representing clients in both defending and challenging the validity of wills, trusts, and probate administration.
What are the Grounds to Challenge a Will?
Typically, will contest challenges concern factors such as:
- Undue influence
- Lack of capacity
These matters are discussed below.
When you hire Gemma Law Office, will contest attorney Anthony Gemma can explain your legal options in easy-to-understand terms and tenaciously work in preparing a strategy that is in your best interests. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you protect your interests!
Who Can Challenge a Will in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, any interested person may contest a will, including a beneficiary, heir, child, spouse, creditor, or other person having (or potentially having) a property right in or against an estate.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement in which an individual (known as a grantor) designates another person (known as a trustee) to hold, manage, and distribute property on behalf of third-party beneficiaries. A grantor establishes the terms for managing trust assets through a written agreement, and the trustee’s role is to fulfill these directives.
What are the Grounds to Challenge a Trust?
Trust challenges typically are brought by the beneficiaries of a trust on the grounds that the trust is not being administered properly or that the trust beneficiaries are not being properly informed of the Trustee’s actions.
In some cases, the beneficiaries may be seeking additional payments from the trust. In other cases, they be challenging payments being made to trustees, or claim that the trustee is not managing assets correctly. There may also be other claims involving a trust.
Our firm represents both trust beneficiaries making claims against trust management, as well as defending trustees against mismanagement and related claims. If you are in need of an attorney to defend your rights as a beneficiary or to defend your actions as a trustee, please contact our firm.
We also assist interested parties by evaluating whether there are grounds to void or rescind lifetime transfers from the decedent’s estate, thereby improperly altering the decedent’s estate plan.
What are the Grounds to Challenge Probate Administration?
There are two basic grounds concerning probate administration.
The first ground concerns the official appointment of the Personal Representative. There may be many reasons that a person named in a will should not be allowed to serve as a Personal Representative; our firm helps interested parties in challenging (or defending) the appointment of a Personal Representative.
The second ground concerns the actual management of an estate by a Personal Representative. In some cases, the Personal Representative may not be properly fulfilling their duties, or they may be acting in a manner favoring their own interests (or that of their family members) over other beneficiaries. Our firm also represents beneficiaries in seeking to challenge estate administration, as well as defending Personal Representatives against claims of improper administration.
What Is a No-Contest or Forfeiture Clause?
Some trusts and wills contain no-contest clauses which generally prohibit beneficiaries from directly or indirectly contesting a will or trust (also known as forfeiture clauses). A legally valid, no-contest provision effectively requires a beneficiary to forfeit any property they would have received under an estate agreement if they choose to challenge such documents, incentivizing beneficiaries to avoid fighting over estate assets.
What Are the Grounds to Challenge a Will or Trust in Massachusetts?
Will and trust challenges typically focus on one or more of the following factors:
- Undue influence. Undue influence occurs when an individual (who stands to benefit from proceeds) unduly pressures an individual into executing a trust, will, or other legally-binding agreement.
- When an individual is threatened, heavily manipulated, or coerced against their wishes, duress can be alleged as a means to invalidate provisions of a trust or will.
- Fraud may occur when an individual signs a legal document without knowing what they are executing.
- Lack of capacity. Lack of capacity may occur when an individual is not of sound mind or does not have the sufficient legal capacity to appreciate the terms of a Last Will and Testament, trust, or estate agreement, the assets they own and/or the family members who they want to benefit.
- Trust fails to serve its purpose. A grantor may have established a trust to accomplish a certain purpose, but it may lose the ability to serve such a purpose. For example, if a trust costs more to administer than the beneficiaries receive, it may be possible to petition the court to terminate the trust to avoid future adverse expenses.
- Ambiguous language. When language is subject to multiple interpretations, a beneficiary may petition the probate court to make a determination regarding a grantor’s intent.
We Invite You to Call Our Office With Your Estate Administration Concerns or Needs
Since 2005, Massachusetts trust and will contest attorney Anthony Gemma has been helping beneficiaries navigate challenging estate contests. When you schedule a free consultation, he can listen to the facts of your case, answer your questions, and explain your rights and options for petitioning for a will, trust, or probate administration contest.
If you desire to challenge the provisions of a will, trust, or probate administration, or if you need defense counsel against a false claim or accusation, we can help. In will contests, trust disputes, and estate administration matters, time is of the essence.
Call today for a free consultation to learn how we can tenaciously fight to protect you and your loved ones’ interests.
The firm will not take any action on your behalf unless and until a written agreement for representation is signed by the firm.
Gemma Law Office News & Information
When estate planning is being undertaken at the same time that a person is separated or getting a divorce, it is critical that the person engaging in estate planning fulfill their other obligations concerning asset disclosure in connection with the divorce or separation. A person may not simply shield their assets from a divorce by creating and transferring their assets to a trust, or otherwise giving away assets.more...
If a will is not valid, a person will be deemed to have died “intestate”, and property will be distributed according to state intestate laws. Learn what you need to do to prevent this outcome.more...