Probate & Trust Litigation

A resource for lawyers and the public in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for information on will contests, trust disputes, guardianships, conservatorships, elder exploitation, fiduciary duty claims, and other probate litigation disputes.

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Important Standing Issue On Appeal

At our request, NH Probate Court Justice Mark Weaver has certified for interlocutory appeal an important standing issue of first impression and the NH Supreme Court has now accepted the appeal.  In In re Estate of Mesiti, the son of the testator filed claims to contest the validity of his father’s last will and testament on alleged grounds of undue influence.  We moved to dismiss, arguing that the outcome of the litigation cannot give him rights in the probate estate as there are multiple facially valid prior wills and all have the same dispositional scheme – they pour into the same trust and do not benefit the son; in other words, this litigation would be a wasteful academic exercise and would not impact any right or interest of the son.  Whether heir status alone  confers standing to contest a will has never been decided in NH.  Relying on cases from other states, Judge Weaver found standing to exist, but certified the issue for appeal given the importance of the issue in this case and to the law generally.

(Note: Ralph Holmes is currently retired from McLane Middleton. For information on this or other probate litigation issues, please contact Alexandra Cote at