The Problem

All names have been given fictional replacements to protect the identity of our client. The legal facts and resolution of the probate litigation case have not been altered.

John and Mary had children from previous marriages, but none together. Prior to their marriage, John and Mary signed a Prenuptial Agreement giving up any right to the other’s assets. Both John and Mary named their respective children as beneficiaries of their separate estates.

Around the same time of John’s death, Mary became incompetent and unable to handle her own financial affairs. One of Mary’s daughters became her mother’s guardian and conservator.

Attempting to undermine John’s trust and the couple’s prenuptial agreement, the daughter claimed that Mary was entitled to assets from John’s estate to pay for her long-term care expenses and threatened litigation. The daughter demanded payment of over $1,000,000. John’s children made a reasonable offer to settle the dispute. Mary’s daughter rejected this offer and sued John’s Trust and all four of his children.

Another law firm advised John’s children that there was substantial risk of losing in court and recommended that they make an increased offer to settle the claims. John’s children came to Rhoades McKee seeking a second opinion hoping to preserve their interests in their father’s estate.

Our Approach

After a thorough investigation of John’s Estate Plan, which included significant investments and real estate, multiple trusts, the Prenuptial Agreement and numerous annuities with respective beneficiary designations, Rhoades McKee recognized that the children’s position was strong and advised them to withdraw the original settlement offer. The probate litigation team also recognized that there was an opportunity to resolve the dispute at a reduced cost by convincing the parties to submit the case to mediation early in the litigation process.

The Result

Following mediation, the case settled for a fraction of the original settlement offer.


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