Estate planning is a crucial aspect of protecting your family's financial future and ensuring that your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, disputes and conflicts can sometimes arise, leading to complex and challenging situations. When faced with such disputes, it is important to seek the expertise of a trust and estate litigation attorney instead of relying solely on a transactional or planning attorney.
In this blog post, we will outline the reasons why a litigator is a better choice when disputes arise, with a particular focus on the interplay between Surrogate Court rules in New York State and the procedural court rules used in New York State litigation.
Specialized Expertise in Litigation
Trust and estate litigation attorneys have extensive experience in handling disputes and litigation related to trusts, estates, and other estate planning matters. New York State has rules that govern all litigations in any court. Then there are additional special rules in New York’s Surrogate’s Court, which is where most probate, estate, and trust disputes are heard. Thus, experienced trust and estate litigation attorneys understand the intricacies of the rules of New York State’s Surrogate’s Court, as well as the procedural rules for all New York State litigation. This specialized knowledge and experience enables them to navigate the court system (whether in Surrogate’s Court or Supreme Court), effectively and advocate for their clients' interests throughout the dispute resolution process. Transactional attorneys mostly lack that litigation knowledge and experience.
Familiarity with Court Procedures and Procedural Rules
While both transactional and planning attorneys should be familiar with Surrogate’s Court rules, litigation attorneys have the added advantage of understanding the procedural court rules used in litigation. This familiarity is crucial when navigating complex disputes, as it allows litigators to efficiently prepare and file necessary documents, adhere to court deadlines, and present persuasive arguments before judges and other decision-makers.
Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Skills
Trust and estate litigation attorneys excel in negotiation and conflict resolution. They are adept at assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's position and working towards a favorable outcome for their clients. Whether through settlement negotiations or courtroom advocacy, a skilled litigator can help resolve disputes efficiently and effectively.
Objectivity and Perspective
In some cases, a client's existing transactional or planning attorney may have been involved in creating the documents or structures that are now subject to dispute. This involvement may lead to potential conflicts of interest or lack of objectivity. Many times, the transactional attorney has a lot of interactions or other history with family members, which make it more challenging for him or her to convince the disputing parties of a fair and reasonable dispute resolution. In contrast, a litigation attorney has not been involved in the situation leading to the dispute and can therefore provide an unbiased perspective on the dispute and help the client assess their legal position and options.
Experience with Similar Cases
Trust and estate litigation attorneys have likely handled cases similar to the client's dispute and can draw from their past experiences to inform their legal strategy and advice. This experience allows them to anticipate potential issues, develop effective strategies, and achieve the best possible outcome for their clients.
When trust and estate disputes arise, it is essential to choose an attorney with the appropriate experience and expertise to handle the specific nature of the conflict. Trust and estate litigation attorneys are better suited to represent clients in disputes and navigate the complexities of the litigation process, especially when it comes to the interplay between Surrogate’s Court rules in New York State and the procedural court rules used in New York Supreme Court litigation. By choosing a skilled litigator, you can ensure that your rights and interests are protected, and that you receive the best possible representation throughout the dispute resolution process.
If you are facing similar concerns or if you have questions about your Trust and Estate dispute, please feel free to contact us here. We have many years of experience handling such matters and will be able to assist you in resolving the dispute.