A Guide to Wills, Estate, Trust and Guardianship Litigation

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Introduction

Young Moore and Henderson has an experienced team of lawyers who concentrate their practices in disputes arising out of Wills, Estates, Trusts, and Guardianships.  This guide is not comprehensive, but aims to serve as a detailed introduction to the different aspects of Wills, Estate, Trust and Guardianship Litigation. If you need assistance from one of our team, we encourage you to explore our range of services and reach out.

Table of Contents

  1. I. Will Contests Also Known as Will Caveats

    Explore the different ways a will can be contested.

  2. II. Actions for Accounting in Estates and Trusts

    In North Carolina executors and administrators of estates and trustees of trusts have strict rules governing how they should handle the property that has been entrusted to them.

  3. III. Actions for Abuse of Powers of Attorney

    A power of attorney often grants broad authority to another party (called an agent) to make decisions on a person’s behalf.

  4. IV. Protection of Beneficiary’s Rights

    The rights of beneficiaries are jealously protected by the law of North Carolina. These protections are given to the beneficiaries of estates and trusts.

  5. V. Interpretation of Wills and Trusts

    Sometimes a will or trust has a provision which is ambiguous and which may be construed by a court.

  6. VI. Trusts – A General Discussion

    Get an overview of trusts and an explanation of the meaning of some of the terms that are commonly found in trusts.

  7. VII. Modifying Irrevocable Trusts

    Learn about a variety of methods exist to address desired changes to the actual terms or function of an irrevocable trust.

  8. VIII. Basic Taxation of Trusts, Grantors and Beneficiaries

    Delve into a general introduction to certain basic concepts of taxation applicable to trusts, grantors and beneficiaries.

  9. IX. Removal of Trustees

    Explore who may file a petition and grounds for removal for cause.

  10. X. Litigation of Trust Issues Before the Clerk of Court

    Learn more about some of the fundamentals of trust proceedings.

  11. XI. Accounts With Right of Survivorship and Pay on Death Accounts

    The availability of joint ownership, survivorship and payable on death features with bank accounts oftentimes leads to unintended circumstances, and thus significant litigation, regarding the disposition of a decedent’s assets.

  12. XII. Litigation of Estate Disputes Before the Clerk of Court

    Most disputes arising out of estates are brought before the Clerk of Superior Court. Explore the actions to remove executors or administrators, actions to compel estate accountings as well as other actions arising.

  13. XIII. Special Proceedings Arising out of Estates

    Some proceedings arising out of estates are deemed to be special proceedings rather than
    estates proceedings.

  14. XIV. Living Probate

    Learn about some situations it may be beneficial for a person to probate their will while they are still alive.

  15. XV. Partition of Real and Personal Property

    In many cases real or personal property is inherited by the heirs of an estate as tenants in common. In some of these case the heirs cannot agree on what should be done with the jointly held property.

  16. XVI. Guardianship

    One of the most difficult decisions a family has to make is whether to file an action to appoint a guardian to take care of a loved one.

  17. XVII. My Loved One Died. Does a Probate Estate Need to be Opened?

    A preliminary question following the death of a loved one is whether a probate estate (of some form) should be opened. Clients are sometimes surprised to learn that the opening of a probate estate is not always necessary or advisable. The decision to open an estate depends on the facts and circumstances existing at the time of the decedent’s death.

  18. XVIII. Til Death Do Us Part: What Happens to a Will After Divorce?

    Many people will execute a will giving their spouse top priority to receive all or most of the assets of their estate upon death. Upon divorce, if a decedent does not update his or her will, an important question becomes how to construe the decedent’s will. Does the ex-spouse receive a portion of the estate?

  19. XIX. Estate Planning Checklist for Separation and Divorce

    Separation and divorce have many legal implications. They do not, however, necessarily extinguish all spousal rights under estate laws. Cover your bases: Will & Revocable Trust; No Will? Make One; Estate Plans When Minor Children are Involved; Financial Power of Attorney; Health Care Power of Attorney; Live Insurance Beneficiary Designations; and Retirement Account Beneficiary Designations.

  20. XX. Updating Asset Protection and Tenancy by the Entirety

    This article updates Asset Protection and Tenancy by the Entirety by Fred Franke published in Volume 34, Issue 4 of the ACTEC Journal. This article will tread the same path as its predecessor by briefly discussing the history of tenancy by the entirety. Next, the article will discuss the law of tenancy by the entirety as it currently stands before discussing how the tenancy can be pierced by the federal tax lien in bankruptcy proceedings. The article concludes by discussing how tenancy by the entirety can be an excellent asset planning tool. The appendix contains an updated state by state summary of tenancy by the entirety.

  21. XXI. When Should You Contest a Will in North Carolina?

    When it is discovered that a loved one left their estate in an unexpected manner, the strong feeling of grief is often accompanied by a feeling of anger and betrayal. When you contact a lawyer to help you determine if a will should be contested, you should be prepared to talk about the following subjects: mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud, or defective execution. Click to read more.

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