Wills and Trusts
Attacking Alleged Estate Plans
Mental Capacity Disputes
Challenges to a Will
Trust Administration Disputes
Powers of Attorney
Defending Estate Plans
Do Not Resuscitate Instructions
Drafting Basic Estate Planning
Why are Estate Issues So Difficult?
These are some of the hardest disputes to resolve. We have extensive experienced in addressing these issues and have had a great deal of success by remembering one of the most important considerations is creatively addressing each party’s needs.
But often times the real driving force is not money or value. It must be remembered that a will or a trust is giving away the remainder of a whole life’s worth of hard work and sacrifice. In effect, a Will or Trust puts a number value on a percentage of your life, and then gives that to another person. Family dynamics, history, age old slights and long standing anger, and more often than not, misunderstandings or miscommunication can lead heirs to feel that the percentage that they have received is not enough. It is not just how much money an heir receives but instead, is often a question of what percentage of their own history they have a right to receive. Finding the right balance to address everyone’s needs is very delicate.
What Does This Look Like in Real Life?
As an example, Bruce received the plaque to the left from his father, both father and son kept it on their desks during their working life and it has now been gifted to Bruce's son Anthony. Bruce kept it not because he needed the reminder of his last name, but because it was a heirloom which connected his work to the work his father made while he was growing up. At this point, it has been in place through the work of now three generations of the Miroglio family, but at the end of the day its value is negligible. Few people on earth would pay more than a few cents to preserve it.
We have seen many people spend thousands of dollars attempting to gain possession or control things that have a similar monetary value as the "Mr. Miroglio" plaque because disputes of this nature are about so much more than simply money. Understanding these motivations and working to ease tensions has really come down to addressing the individual needs of the parties involved. Some of our proudest moments have been when we were able to preserve family harmony when these problems arose.
In the case of a dispute among heirs, sometimes an heir feels entitled to far more than their fair share. Sometimes items of emotional value can be substituted to lessen the conflict, and other times you may just need someone to argue aggressively that the other side is being unreasonable. Knowing when to appease and when to stand firm is part of our approach to ending conflict as quickly and amicably as possible.
Most conversations start with the story of how the problem came to be, identifying the areas of value, both monetarily as well as familial, and finally, what family connections you hope to preserve. We can then try to come up with solutions that get you what you need. Give us a call to discuss how we can use our experience i the area to help you.