ADMINISTRATION of ESTATES & TRUSTS
A significant portion of Mr. Gossels' practice consists of helping his clients to secure the decree needed to admit a will to probate and to have themselves appointed as an executor or administrator of the estate of the person who had made that will. Once that has been accomplished, Mr. Gossels will assist the executor or administrator to obtain a tax identification number, to gather the assets of the estate, pay the bills, draft and file the tax returns, draft, file and see to the allowance of his or her accounts by the Probate Court and to distribute the property remaining to the legatees and beneficiaries.
The administration of estates and trusts is often complicated, alas, by disputes between co-executors and/or trustees and by claims of legatees and beneficiaries of such estates and trusts, who believe that their fiduciaries have not complied with the terms of their trust.
When wills and trusts are not properly drafted or when fiduciaries fail to carry out the wishes of the testator or donor, a good portion of the estate may, unfortunately, be wasted by disputes between and among the fiduciaries and the beneficiaries. That is why Mr. Gossels has often been called upon by fiduciaries, legatees and beneficiaries to resolve such disputes in order to avoid the expensive litigation that follows in so many cases.
When such a resolution proves to be impossible, Mr. Gossels will do all he can to assist his clients in the Probate Courts, the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court to see to it that executors, administrators and trustees comply with the laws and carry out the wishes of their respective testators and donors so that each legatee and beneficiary shall receive those assets of the estate to which he or she is entitled.
One of the most complex cases that Mr. Gossels has tried ultimately reached the Massachusetts Appeals Court: Sears v. Investment Funds, Inc., 4 Mass. App. Ct. 686 (1976). In October, 2004, Mr. Gossels recovered a house worth one million dollars for the common law widow of a man who had neglected to add her name to his deed and failed to leave a will, despite the fact that he promised to do so and she had contributed more than her share to purchase and manage his house.
After years of litigation, Mr. Gossels recently recovered multimillion dollar judgments for clients involved in will contests, including the judgment in Maimonides School v. Coles, 71 Mass. App. Ct. 240 (2008).
You may also wish to read Mr. Gossels' article, "Why Should Probate Rule 16 Trump Rule 27B?" which was published in the December 5, 2005 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and can be accessed on this website under Recent Publications by Attorney Gossels.