Disputes are not rare occurrences during the estate administration process. Estate disputes can lead to litigation when the parties with conflicting interests cannot resolve the disagreement through mediation and negotiations.

At Engel Professional Association, we offer dedicated support for clients involved in estate and trust disputes and litigation. Estate litigation can tear an otherwise close-knit family apart, which is why it is crucial to act immediately.

If any disputes arise during the estate administration process, consider contacting Engel Professional Association to work with a knowledgeable attorney who can help make the process less adversarial and more efficient. We proudly represent clients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and across Minnesota.



Common Estate Disputes

In any estate administration process, there is a possibility that disputes may arise. The types of disputes that commonly result in litigation include:

  • A request to remove the executor (administrator). A proceeding for the removal of the executor of the estate can arise if any of the interested parties believe that the executor is unfit for their position due to misconduct, negligence, or lack of capacity.

  • Disputes as to the validity of the will or trust. If a will or trust was not executed properly, beneficiaries and heirs could file a dispute to challenge the validity of the legal document.

  • Breach of fiduciary duty. Administrators, executors, and trustees owe a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. When any party fails to act responsibly or fulfill their obligations, interested parties could pursue a breach of fiduciary duty claim.

  • Disputes related to the distribution of assets. Beneficiaries and heirs may also dispute the will if they were left out of it or assets were distributed unfairly due to undue influence.

Estate Administration Process

The probate process must be initiated within three years of the decedent’s death. The first step to initiate probate proceedings in Minnesota is to open a probate case. This can be done by submitting the appropriate paperwork to the court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of the death.

Once the probate case is opened, the court will appoint a personal representative (executor) to administer the estate. If the decedent had a will that named a personal representative, the person named in the will would be appointed by the court to serve as the executor. If there was no will, the personal representative will be selected by the court based on an order of priority established by Minnesota law.

Who Can Contest a Will in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, anyone with “legal standing” can contest a Will. People have standing if they were named in the decedent’s will or would have a right to receive a share of the estate through Minnesota intestate laws had the decedent died without a will. People with legal standing to contest a will have one year from the date of the decedent’s death to file a dispute.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

In order to contest a last will and testament in Minnesota, parties with a legal standing must prove that they have valid grounds to challenge the decedent’s will. Common grounds for contesting a will include:

  • Fraud

  • Duress

  • Undue influence

  • Insanity

  • Lack of testamentary capacity

  • Incapacity

  • Forgery

  • Clerical errors

Grounds for Contesting a Trust

Possible grounds to contest a trust in Minnesota include:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity

  • Insanity

  • Undue influence

  • Purpose contrary to public policy

  • The trust does not represent the settlor’s wishes

  • The settlor made a mistake

  • Ambiguous language in the trust

Estate and Trust Litigation Attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota

At Engel Professional Association, we have extensive experience guiding residents of Minneapolis and other parts of Minnesota through the estate administration process. We help our clients resolve issues when any disputes arise during estate administration. Attorney Kenneth S. Engel represents heirs, executors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties facing estate-related disputes. We provide our legal representation services to clients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other parts of Minnesota, including St. Cloud, Maple Grove, Mankato, Woodbury, and others.