Indianapolis, IN asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Indiana

Q: If the trustee of a will has their lawyer give you a choice about signing your rights away or get sued what can they do?

They were not getting anything in the will. The trustee is using her money to basically remove the son from any involvement of his fathers death. He just wanted his dad's ashes. The will said nothing about ashes of his father. He was told that if he didn't sign his rights away she would sue him. He said he felt like he was forced to because he doesn't have money to fight her in court.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If you're faced with a situation where the trustee of a will is threatening legal action to compel you to sign away your rights, it's important to know your options. Trustees have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, and their powers are typically defined by the terms of the will and applicable law. If the will does not mention specific items like ashes, and you're being pressured to relinquish any claims, it's crucial to understand that legal threats require careful consideration.

Seeking legal advice is advisable, even if financial resources are limited. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, and there are legal aid organizations that provide assistance to those who cannot afford legal representation. Knowing your rights and the potential implications of signing them away is essential before making any decisions. This knowledge can empower you to make informed choices and protect your interests.

Moreover, if you feel coerced or threatened, it's important to communicate this to your legal advisor. There may be legal protections against such pressure, and strategies to negotiate a more favorable outcome. Remember, the law provides mechanisms to resolve disputes, and understanding your position within these mechanisms is key to navigating through challenging situations like this.

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