Probate & Trust Litigation: Dealing with Family Disputes

The passing of a loved one is often a time of sorrow, reflection, and family unity. However, it can sometimes also become a ground for disputes over the distribution of assets in the decedent’s trust or will. Such disagreements can escalate to probate and trust litigation, adding further strain to already emotionally charged situations. This blog post explores ways to navigate family disputes in the context of probate and trust litigation, aiming to maintain peace while ensuring fairness.

Understanding Probate & Trust Litigation

Probate and trust litigation involves legal disputes arising during the administration of a deceased person’s estate. These disagreements could be about the validity of a will, the interpretation of trust provisions, or the actions of the person administering the estate, among others.

The Seed of Disputes: Common Causes

Understanding the common causes of family disputes in probate and trust litigation can help prevent or resolve them:

  • Unequal distribution: A will or trust that divides assets unequally among beneficiaries can create discord.
  • Validity of the will or trust: Allegations of fraud, duress, or incapacity can lead to disputes about the validity of a will or trust.
  • Performance of the executor or trustee: Disputes can arise if beneficiaries believe that the executor or trustee is mismanaging the estate or trust, or not performing their duties properly.

Maintaining Harmony: Dealing with Disputes

Navigating family disputes in probate and trust litigation requires a delicate balance of legal action and emotional understanding:

  • Open Communication: Clear and regular communication can prevent misunderstandings, address concerns early, and provide reassurance to all parties involved.
  • Mediation: Mediation can be an effective way to resolve disputes outside of court. A neutral third-party mediator can facilitate discussions and help the parties reach an agreement.
  • Legal Representation: Hiring a probate attorney can help ensure that all parties’ interests are represented, the dispute is handled fairly, and the probate or trust administration process continues smoothly.


Probate and trust litigation can be a challenging path to navigate, particularly when family disputes cast a shadow over the proceedings. However, by promoting open communication, considering mediation, and seeking legal representation, it is possible to traverse this path while keeping the peace. Remember, at the heart of probate and trust litigation, beyond the legal proceedings and disputes, is the preservation of a loved one’s legacy. Ensuring this process happens respectfully and harmoniously can be the greatest tribute to their memory.