Minimizing Litigation Stress
Trust and estate litigation matters are particularly contentious and emotionally-charged, especially when the dispute involves family members. The grief suffered over the recent loss of a loved one often creates tension among family members, and this tension can give rise to misdirected anger and ultimately a lawsuit. But our skilled attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle even the most complex estate disputes, including:
- Challenges to Document Validity
- Intra-Family Disputes
- Claims by Beneficiaries
- Allegations of Estate Mismanagement or Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Experience You Can Trust
Over the years, we've been involved in landmark trial and appellate court decisions that have helped define trust and estate law in the State of Hawaii. To this day, we receive referrals from other attorneys in both Hawaii and the mainland who know of our reputation for favorably resolving difficult and challenging cases.
Nature of Trust & Estate Disputes
Disputes sometimes arise over the construction and validity of an estate planning document, or over allegations of mistake, fraud, coercion, or undue influence. Disagreements are also common between beneficiaries of a trust or estate and a fiduciary. Family members may disagree over who should act as the fiduciary, or the beneficiaries may be concerned about financial decisions or investments made by the fiduciary, or other property management issues If the fiduciary is also a beneficiary, concerns over potential conflicts of interest, whether real or imagined, can also lead to litigation.
Mediation of Trust & Estate Disputes
When an intra-family dispute arises, we urge mediation as an alternative to litigation. Mediation provides a less formal and more expeditious way of reaching a resolution, and is significantly less expensive than going to trial. Trust and estate litigation is emotionally and financially expensive, and we often remind clients that their deceased loved one did not intend for lawyers to become the beneficiary of the estate. Our goal is to achieve a favorable resolution for our client, with minimal expenditure of attorneys' fees and litigation costs.
Mediation vs. Litigation
Mediation also allows the parties to avoid some of the emotional costs of litigation. Litigation tends to pit one party against another in an adversarial proceeding. In mediation, the parties air their grievances in a private setting. This allows you to openly discuss difficult issues and, hopefully, forge a mutually agreed upon resolution, rather than one imposed by the courts.
Because we recognize that ancestors who have passed wealth down through generations did not intend that their gift to cause for intra-family disputes, we will not accept such an engagement unless the prospective client is willing to attempt to mediate the dispute before expensive litigation is commenced. If mediation fails, however, we are well-prepared to move forward with the litigation process.