Estate and Fiduciary Litigation

Estate and Fiduciary Litigation can include a wide range of matters. Some of these matters include:

  • Will contests;
  • Caveats filed with the Register of Wills;
  • Petition to be appointed as the Administrator of an Estate;
  • Formal Accounting and Audit.

A personal representative of an estate or a trustee of a trust has a very important job and is held to a very high standard. Sometimes disagreements arise between the trustees/personal representatives, who are the fiduciaries, and the beneficiaries for whom they are to act. If the disagreements cannot be resolved informally by means of a settlement, then the matter must be presented to a Court and addressed through litigation.

Attorneys at Solomon, Berschler, Fabick, Campbell & Thomas, P.C., have extensive experience in fiduciary litigation for clients in Norristown, throughout Montgomery County and across the five county area. We represent both fiduciaries such as administrators, executors, trustees by protecting them from claims and personal liability, as well as beneficiaries by ensuring that their rights are protected.

Litigation in Orphans’ Court

In Pennsylvania, there is a specialized court known as the Orphans’ Court which addresses litigation pertaining to issues involving a trust or an estate, or a matter where an individual is in a fiduciary position to another.

There are many types of matters related to trusts and estates that are often litigated in Orphans' Court. A common example of a matter that is presented to the Orphans' Court is a Will Contest, wherein an contestant of a will believes that the will of a deceased person was acquired by unlawful means such as duress or undue influence. The Orphans Court decides by way of a trial whether the will is valid or invalid.

The Orphans' Court also adjudicates matters that arise after an estate has been raised or a trust has been created. A trustee or an executor may be faced with a situation where the beneficiaries do not believe he or she has performed her duties in accordance with the law or acted in the best interest of the trust or the estate. In such an instance, if the fiduciary is unable to reach an informal settlement with all the parties involved, he or she may file an accounting with the Orphans' Court, providing a detailed summary of all actions taken on behalf of the trust or estate, and seek a court confirmation that the actions taken were proper.

A beneficiary who believes that a fiduciary did not act in accordance with their legal obligation may file a petition with the Orphans' Court, compelling the fiduciary to provide an accounting for their actions. If the beneficiary is not satisfied with the actions taken, he or she may file objection to the accounting, requesting the court grant relief in their favor. Through such litigation, the Orphans' Court will determine whether the estate or trust has been properly administered and whether the beneficiaries are entitled to the relief sought.

Our attorneys can help you navigate through the complex legal rules to ensure that your rights are protected!