Probate, Estate, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation

Estate plans (wills and trusts) are designed to lay out an individual’s wishes for the distribution of their assets at death. Unfortunately, disputes often arise over the meaning of a document or the circumstances under which the document was created.  Likewise, a loved one may have passed away intestate (without a will) or they may be incapacitated, and family members might disagree on how to handle their matters.  Also, occasionally, a personal representative, power of attorney or trustee may not be acting in a manner that is required by law, therefore, breaching their fiduciary duty.

The lawyers at Murphy Desmond in Madison, Janesville and Appleton, Wisconsin, are experienced in handling litigation that arises from contested wills and trusts, estate goals and breach of fiduciary responsibilities. We provide dedicated representation in all legal conflicts concerning:

  • Will and trust contests – defense and prosecution
  • Fiduciary duties and breach of fiduciary responsibilities and conflicts of interest
    • Corporate Trustees
    • Personal representatives/executors
    • Power of Attorney agents
  • Competency issues
  • Ambiguity in wording of documents
  • Conservatorship and guardianship
  • Undue influence
  • Questionable will changes
  • Filing or defending objections to probate
  • Beneficiary representation
  • Unique family dynamics
  • Representation for out-of-state heirs
  • Recovery of assets
  • IRS dispute resolution and state tax authorities on tax disputes
  • Gifting and transfer of assets
  • Valuation of trusts and estate assets
  • Marital property rights
  • Creditors and debtor claims in estate proceedings

Some of the most difficult legal disputes can arise when a family member passes or becomes incapacitated.  Common situations may involve:

  • Surviving children disagreeing about a parent’s or parents’ wishes
  • Conflicts between a step-parent and biological children (such as the battle regarding celebrity disc jockey Casey Kasem )
  • Disagreements between parents and a spouse/partner of an incapacitated or deceased adult (such as the much-publicized case of Terri Schiavo)
  • Rights of common law spouses or unmarried couples vs. parents/siblings/heirs
  • Disagreements regarding placement and financial matters of minor children
  • Disagreements over the handling of special needs trusts
  • Rights of non-biological parents (including same-sex parents) of children, following the passing of a biological parent
  • Disputes with creditors pursuing assets from an estate
  • Rights of imprisoned family members or heirs after the death of a family member

These and other legal scenarios can become extremely complicated during a highly emotional time. The litigation attorneys at Murphy Desmond work to settle disputes as quickly and effectively as possible, and to provide a level of closure for family members and heirs.

Experienced Estate Planning and Litigation Attorneys

Whether you need help with asset distribution through litigation or you wish to set up or review an estate plan to help avoid future problems, contact our Madison wills and trusts attorneys online or call 608.257.7181 to schedule a consultation and discuss your situation.