A will contest can arise in any number of ways including the challenge and defense as to the execution, procurement by a lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence by a beneficiary, or in a challenge as to the manner of the distribution of the estate. Further, a will contest can arise where there is a dispute as to the meaning or interpretation of the provisions of a last will and testament (to determine the true intent of the decedent).

An experienced estate and trust litigation attorney can negotiate a just and reasonable settlement between the parties or proceed strategically with a full litigation when necessary in the client's best interest.

A trust contest can involve similar issues but often focuses on the interpretation of the provisions of the trust instrument or the actions or inaction by the trustee in his or her administration of the trust.

When it comes to last wills and testaments, clients often believe that they have been somehow illegally been excluded as a beneficiary or that their share of the estate has been reduced in ways that are unfair. As we have many years reviewing these disputes, we know the questions to ask to evaluate and decide if the client has a good case to pursue.
The construction of the trust document is required if the document is ambiguous, unclear or contradictory in its terms. Trust documents can also be reformed as trust reformation contemplates the change to the trust document to reflect the true intent of the creator of the trust based upon changes in circumstance.

A last will and testament must be signed specifically by a particular protocol. The document must be executed by the testator in writing at the end and the testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses. Additionally, the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of the other witness. A skilled litigator can determine if those requirements were met.

Lack of capacity claims can be shown if the testator did not understand the nature and extent of his assets and did not know the natural objects of his bounty (family members).

Estate litigation to go beyond a will contest and can involve the heirs suing a life insurance company for failure to pay death benefits under a life insurance policy on the life of the decedent.  Estate litigation can also involve a final wrongful death action by the estate of the decedent against a motorist who killed the decedent in an auto accident.