Law Offices of Thomas S. Francis

Massachusetts Law Firm Successfully Litigating Probate and Trust Disputes

Attorneys with the experience and practical knowledge to provide effective representation

The death of a loved one is always a painful occurrence. Unfortunately, that pain is too often compounded by problems in the estate that cause disputes among heirs and beneficiaries. If you suspect that a will or its execution does not reflect the wishes of the deceased, you have a right to challenge the proceedings in probate court. With more than 25 years of litigation experience each, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas S. Francis confidently represent aggrieved parties in probate court and in suits brought outside of probate court by family member(s) against family member(s) on issues involving:

  • Lack of capacity
  • Property division
  • Trusts
  • Undue influence
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud

Demanding accountability and fairness

The individual chosen to be the personal representative of the estate or to hold power of attorney of to act as a trustee has a fiduciary duty to dispatch his or her obligations professionally and in accordance with the wishes of the testator or settlor. Any fraud or negligence in accounting for assets can and should be challenged. After reviewing your case, attorneys Francis and Clark will advise you promptly and in detail whether matters are being handled competently and honestly.

Clients rely upon the firm to solve a broad range of issues that arise in the course of a probate proceeding. Mr. Francis has represented both plaintiffs and defendants at trial in disputes over the division of family property and on claims for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.

  • Stevens v. Stevens, 84 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2013)
  • In 2010, Mr. Francis won a $918,000 judgment for his client on a breach of fiduciary duty claim after a 25-day bench trial. The trial judge found for the plaintiff on all ten counts of the complaint. On September 3, 2013, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the trial judge's rulings.
  • In 1999, Mr. Francis obtained a defense verdict exonerating his client in an action brought by a family member suing for part of a grandparent’s estate.

Don’t expect success if you handle objections yourself

Many heirs and beneficiaries hesitate to hire an attorney because they trust the probate court to do what is fair or wish to keep a family dispute within the family. However, there are things you should consider before attempting to handle a probate issue yourself. The court is not an investigative body. Just because you bring up an issue does not mean the judge is obligated to search for supporting evidence. You can present allegations, but without the firm basis a professional attorney can provide, your suspicions may receive little consideration. Moreover, a seasoned attorney who has been through probate negotiations before is likely to produce a settlement that satisfies all parties and allows the proceedings to move forward at less cost to the estate.

Contact the trial attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas S. Francis today

For reliable and tough representation in probate and trust disputes, call the Law Offices of Thomas S. Francis at 617-742-4044 or contact the firm online to schedule a free initial consultation.