Will & Trust Contests, Interpretation, and Modification or Reformation Issues

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Amanda and her team represent beneficiaries and fiduciaries in litigation concerning the validity of trusts and wills in the face of alleged lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, and forgery. The team also handles will and trust interpretation issues when concerns arise due to ambiguity in documents, scrivener error, or the need to modify or reform wills and trusts for various reasons.

  • Tried a 30-day will challenge in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Gloucester County, involving disposition of decedent’s farm and the validity of the decedent’s will; obtained a verdict upholding the validity of the decedent’s will despite allegations of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
  • Litigated will contest in the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, in which the client challenged the validity of the decedent’s last will and testament on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, and fraud in the inducement; several days into the case-in-chief, the opposing parties offered a favorable settlement.
  • Convinced the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, that typical will challenge concepts of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity should apply to challenges to a payable on death beneficiary designation form for a brokerage/securities account.
  • In Allegheny County, Pa., defended on two separate occasions (at the Register of Wills level and the Orphans’ Court level) a decedent’s four-page handwritten holographic will from a challenge by the decedent’s intestate heirs alleging that the document did not constitute a last will and testament under Pennsylvania law.
  • Litigated the validity of the last will and testament of a prominent real estate developer in Philadelphia County, Pa.
  • Successfully obtained court approval in Montgomery County, Pa., to modify an existing irrevocable trust to include provisions which would make the trust more tax efficient, thereby saving hundreds of thousands of dollars from unnecessary generation-skipping transfer taxation.
  • Successfully obtained court approval in Montgomery County, Pa., to reform an existing irrevocable trust because of an error on the part of a deceased scrivener which created an ambiguity for distribution purposes.