The primary areas of practice for Wolff Law, PLLC include disputes and litigation in probate, trusts and guardianship matters. The detailed areas of practice are listed below.
PROBATE/ESTATE DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
Beneficiaries of an estate may believe that an executor/administrator of an estate
- is not providing them with a sufficient amount of information regarding estate assets;
- is failing to distribute estate assets on a timely basis;
- is improperly using estate assets; or
- is otherwise taking improper actions as executor/administrator.
We can help protect a beneficiary’s rights and, if necessary, initiate litigation against an executor/administrator.
We also will defend executors/administrators of an estate against claims brought against them by beneficiaries.
The cases include:
- Will Contests
- Non-Probate Asset Contests
- Disqualification and Removal of Executors
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims against Executors
- Suits to Compel Estate Accountings from Executors
- Defense of Claims against Executors
- Common Law Spouse Claims
A person may die with a will, but that will may have been executed at a time when the person
- suffered from Alzheimer’s dementia, any other type of dementia, or some other medical condition that resulted in him/her not having “testamentary capacity” when the will was executed;
- was improperly influenced by another individual; or
- executed the will as a result of fraud.
Also, the will may not have been executed pursuant to the requirements of the Texas Estates Code or may have been forged. Often, these situations arise when a person executes a will shortly before his/her death that alters an estate plan that had been in place for many years, and the new will disinherits certain family members or leaves the person’s estate to a non-family member.
We regularly advise clients about the prospects of filing a will contest and, ultimately, will file such a contest if the circumstances warrant. We also represent individuals in defending against will contests.
PROBATE OF WILLS/ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
An individual may pass away with a will. For that will to have any effect, it must be “admitted to probate.”
This means that the will must be filed in court, and a hearing must be held to prove that the will was properly executed, that it is in fact the decedent’s will, and that it was never revoked.
We can assist a client with the filing of the appropriate documents to have the will “admitted to probate.”
If the client also is the named executor of the estate, we can assist the client with the administration of the estate including, but not limited to, gathering estate assets, the filing of the necessary inventory of estate assets, dealing with creditors of the estate, and distributing estate assets to the rightful beneficiaries.
Sometimes, a person passes away without a will. In this scenario, in order to determine the rightful heirs of a person’s estate, an application for determination of heirship often will need to be filed.
We can assist a client with the filing of all documents necessary for a court to make a judicial determination regarding the appropriate heirs of a person.
If necessary, we can assist a client with the appointment of an administrator of the person’s estate who will have the authority to take possession of the person’s bank accounts and other assets, deal with creditors, and distribute a person’s assets to the rightful beneficiaries.
TRUST DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
Beneficiaries of a trust may believe that a trustee (i) is not being forthcoming about the management of the trust’s assets, (ii) is failing to make distributions to them from the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms, (iii) is improperly favoring one beneficiary of a trust over another, (iv) is improperly using trust assets for his/her own needs, or (v) is otherwise taking improper actions as trustee.
We can help protect a beneficiary’s rights under the trust and, if necessary, initiate litigation against a trustee. We regularly demand formal accountings from trustees. In addition, we represent trustees in litigation brought against them by beneficiaries. We also can assist a trustee or a beneficiary in efforts to modify or terminate a trust pursuant to the Texas Trust Code or the trust instrument.
The cases include:
- Removal of Trustees
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
- Modification of Trusts
- Termination of Trusts
- Suits to Compel Trust Accountings
- Defense of Claims against Trustees
GUARDIANSHIP DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
A parent or other loved one may suffer from Alzheimer’s Dementia, another form of dementia, or another medical condition that makes that person unable to take care of his/her own physical health or manage his/her financial affairs.
In such a condition, this individual is particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others, and they may need to be protected by the appointment of a guardian.
We regularly advise clients as to whether a guardianship is appropriate. If a guardianship is determined to be necessary, we will assist clients through all aspects of the guardianship proceeding. We also assist in the creation of guardianships for a minor who has become an adult and may the need the protection of a guardianship.
We also assist clients with efforts to disqualify a potential guardian and file suits to remove a guardian who has engaged in wrongdoing.
We also file suits against agents under financial powers of attorney who may have engaged in wrongdoing or exploitation of the principal who may be in need of a guardianship.