Guardianship is an important legal tool that can be used to protect a loved one; however, the process, standards and procedures of estate settlement and guardianship can be very complicated. We handle contested and routine probate and trust/guardianship matters including will contests, breach of fiduciary duties, abuse of powers of attorney, accounting actions, claims for the removal of trustees, and the financial exploitation of elders.
Actions we can pursue on your behalf include:
- Filing petitions to obtain guardianship of a person and/or estate of a person with a disability
- Serving as legal counsel in guardianship trials when someone with a disability has objected to guardianship or there is a dispute about who should serve as guardian
- Bringing cross-petitions for guardianship on behalf of family members or others who want to serve as guardian
- Taking action against an agent who is acting inappropriately or harming the person with a disability
- Pursuing orders of protection and citations to recover against people who are exploiting or abusing someone with a disability
- Preparing inventories and accountings of financial activity on behalf of a court-appointed guardian
Guardianship of Minors: In addition to disabled adults’ estates, our attorneys represent family members and other parties in minor guardianship cases. Guardianship of a minor is appropriate when the minor has a parent who is unable to make and carry out day-to-day child care decisions or when the minor has received significant funds from sources such as an inheritance or a lawsuit. In addition, if a child is involved in a personal injury lawsuit, we can work with the personal injury attorney to ensure that any settlement conforms to the requirements of the Probate Court.
Representation in Probate Proceedings: If an individual has no estate planning documents, his or her estate likely will be subject to probate. Probate refers to the legal process for establishing the validity of a will and paying debts of the estate and distributing remaining estate assets. The representative of a decedent’s estate has a duty to appropriately and efficiently manage and administer the estate. This includes notifying beneficiaries and creditors, gathering and investing assets where appropriate, negotiating and paying debts of the estate, and addressing tax issues. Administration can become even more complicated when creditors or significant assets are involved, or when family members or others disagree as to how to resolve estate issues.
As experienced probate practitioners, we are skilled in probate procedures and requirements, and can assist our clients in all aspects of probate law, including:
- Reviewing estate planning documents and counseling clients as to whether probating a decedent’s estate is necessary
- Providing legal representation to executors and administrators of decedents’ estates
- Representing legatees and heirs in challenging the admission of a will to probate, the appointment of an independent administrator or the estate representative’s actions in the decedent’s estate
- Representing creditors of a decedent’s estate
- Providing estate planning and counseling services to assist clients in avoiding the probate process post-death