A trust is an estate planning, tax savings and/or asset protection device often recommended to families. The person who creates the trust is the grantor, who funds the trust during his/her lifetime or through a will, and selects the beneficiaries, usually family members, permitted to receive distributions of income and/or principle from the trust. The grantor also selects the trustee(s), a person(s) or financial institution charged with the fiduciary responsibility of managing and administering the trust.
Conflict is inherent in the relationship between beneficiaries and trustee. Serious problems can develop over interpreting the terms and conditions of the trust, when, how much and to whom the trustee distributes funds, how the trust assets are invested, trustee malpractice, and trustee spending, to name just a few. Furthermore, more often than not, family members are involved on each side, injecting into the mix the emotion and bitterness that inevitably accompanies intra-family discord.
Our attorneys are well-schooled in the specialized body of statutory and common law governing trust disputes. We have decades of experience resolving trust-related controversies between beneficiaries and trustees. At all times, our attorneys remain keenly aware of the damage that heated disagreements can do to family harmony. Therefore, negotiated resolution will usually be our suggested initial course of action. Sometimes however, filing a lawsuit is the appropriate and/or necessary route to achieving the client’s desired result, and we have practiced extensively litigating trust disputes against some of the largest law firms in New Jersey in trial, appellate and Supreme courts.
Tax issues can be implicated by trust settlements and/or judgments. We can offer our trust dispute clients the availability of tax advice from our attorneys who specialize in that area of the law.
As a client of Szaferman Lakind, you can expect to be provided with a full understanding of the applicable law, issues unique to your case, options, and estimated costs so that you are able to make informed decisions as your matter proceeds.