Trusts & Estates Litigation, Guardianships and Fiduciary Counseling
Disputes involving estates, trusts and fiduciaries have proliferated over the last few years, often arising in the context of second marriages, family dislocations and estranged family members, or family business succession issues.
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The stakes in these disputes are high, given the immense wealth and emotional weight they frequently carry. These disputes also often involve entanglements with family-owned partnerships or corporations.
We engage with sensitivity and tact
Our Estates and Trusts Litigation team has substantial experience representing executors, trustees, beneficiaries, heirs and other related parties in a wide array of estate and trust disputes. These cases often involve claims that the decedent was incapacitated or subject to undue influence at the time of the will execution. They also may involve allegations of improper conduct against fiduciaries in connection with their administration of an estate or trust. Some of these cases have become hard fought court battles, while others have been sensibly resolved through mediation or settlement negotiation in a cost-effective manner. In either situation, we understand the issues, develop effective strategies and have a proven track record of achieving desirable results.
Not only do these controversies generally involve substantial financial interests and complex factual and legal issues, but they also often implicate emotionally charged disagreements among family members. Our attorneys who practice in this area are adept at developing strategies that address both the family dynamics and substantive merits of each case. Whether a client is pursuing or defending against litigation or engaging in alternative dispute resolution, we are acutely aware of the financial and emotional toll these disputes can impose and work closely with our clients in an effort to achieve cost-effective, prompt and favorable outcomes.
In many instances, our attorneys are able to reduce costs and friction by employing a mediator either before or after the filing of a lawsuit. In addition, our attorneys work to avoid disputes by advising executors, trustees and beneficiaries concerning their legal rights and obligations to foster informed and appropriate decision-making. Whether your case involves an estate or trust worth $100 million or a more modest sum, our attorneys are fully equipped to tackle the most complicated and contentious matters head on.
Our attorneys handle all disputes and issues that can arise from estates, trusts, and guardianships, including:
Challenges to the validity of a decedent’s will or trust involving lack of capacity or undue influence
The interpretation and construction of specific will and trust provisions
Reformation and termination of trusts
Compensation for theft, negligence or mismanagement committed by executors and trustees
Removal of executors and trustees for malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty
Accountings of estate and trust assets
Defense of fiduciaries, including executors and trustees, against claims of breach of fiduciary duties
Estate creditor claims
Spousal elective shares
Taxes, expenses, and fees for professional services
Guardianships and powers of attorney relating to minors and allegedly incapacitated individuals