When The Law Is Tough, You Want Us At Your Table

Get The Legal Help You Need To Resolve Trust, Will And Probate Disputes

At Zane D. Smith & Associates, Ltd., our mission is to provide you with the quality legal representation you need to successfully resolve your dispute. As agile negotiators, we seek to accomplish this goal, whenever possible, in the most efficient way possible. In some cases, this means meeting to reach an agreement. In other cases, this means taking the matter to court. With 50 years of combined trial experience, we are adept at litigation.

The Broad Scope Of Probate Litigation

Probate is the state-run process an estate goes through after a person dies. Probate litigation is the process that happens when someone contests a will, disputes a trust or wants the person who is handling the estate investigated for not doing their duty. Other actions can fall under probate litigation such as seeking to establish or settle a disputed title to a property. It can also involve pursuing property that was wrongfully taken, or looking into and correcting a will that was made under duress or with undue influence, among other actions.

Types Of Disputes We Handle

Because disputes over wills, trusts and probate involve family, we aim to find the most effective, direct  and least destructive path to resolution. Turn to our team for personal, accessible representation. We can help with:

  • Trust disputes, missing assets, delayed distribution and trust reformation
  • Will validation, duress and undue influence, and will contests
  • Probate litigation
  • Lack of compliance in duties
  • Breach of fiduciary duties of a trustee, executor or personal representative
  • Ownership of the estate’s real property
  • Estate lawsuits

As seasoned trial attorneys, we are able to quickly assess your situation and make decisive moves toward resolution. We handle many dispute types, including some that are not listed above. A will can be contested within six months of it being admitted to Illinois probate. As a team that also handles many types of business law issues, we are prepared to take on estates that involve a family business, small business or business interests.

Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

A trustee has to remain both impartial and loyal to the trust beneficiaries. Additionally, a trustee has an obligation to follow the “prudent investor rule.” This means a trustee must invest and manage the funds in the trust judiciously. A trustee cannot use the funds for their own needs. In some cases, a trustee may be found guilty of embezzlement if that trustee took trust funds for personal use. In all events, the court will seek to understand the intent of the person who created the trust when making a decision of what was in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

Discuss Your Probate Litigation Issue With Us

The team at Zane D. Smith & Associates, Ltd., is ready to assess your issue and offer guidance. Call to set up a time to meet with us at 312-245-0031. Use our online contact form to ask a question or request a consultation. Our downtown offices are conveniently located just steps from the courthouse. We serve Illinois probate clients in the entire Chicago area.