Fiduciary, Trust and Probate Litigation

Leading individuals and corporations—both not-for-profit and for profit—seek our firm’s help to prevent disputes involving trusts and estates and to represent them when litigation cannot be avoided. If disputes arise, our team works with clients to identify problems and opportunities, consider and present strategies and tactics to accomplish our clients’ goals, and implement chosen strategies, adjusting as needed.

Many of our fiduciary, trust, and probate litigation clients are clients of our firm’s financial services industry team. They include financial services industry members, private and charitable foundations, corporate and individual trustees, guardians, beneficiaries, and ERISA trustees.

Serving Clients’ Needs

Our services span the needs of any client faced with fiduciary, trust, and probate disputes—actual or potential.

  • We handle the defense and prosecution of claims for or against fiduciaries alleging breaches of duties. These can include breaches of loyalty, competency, investing, or accounting. These clients are principally commercial, but we serve private fiduciaries as well.
  • Our involvement in contested wills and trusts focuses principally on interpretations of disputed instruments, incompetence, or undue influence. Our experience with helping manage family dynamics often figures heavily in these matters.
  • Commercial fiduciaries, ERISA fiduciaries, and financial institutions often turn to us for help in ensuring protection in implementing investment strategies. We help them identify issues in the suitability of the underlying investments and vetting investment professionals.
  • Our fiduciary risk management clients seek our help in putting industry best practices in place and in addressing repetitive and ad hoc problems. Our counseling in this area comprises insurance reviews and recommendations as well as corporate practices and policies.
  • We regularly litigate accounting challenges to expenditures and investments between current and future beneficiaries. In addition, we handle disputes involving the adequacy of disclosures to beneficiaries and the proper characterization of expenditures.
  • Members of our team advise clients on the opportunities and challenges of trust modifications, whether by mutual consent or by a court’s order. Where appropriate, we manage court applications to approve and implement trust modifications.

Success Stories

  • Prudent investor claim against fiduciary involving a legacy trust. The beneficiaries subtrust was worth $16 million. Claim was that investment in closely held family stock was imprudent and unsuitable. Case was dismissed, and commercial trustee was vindicated.
  • A trust controlled a family business of substantial value. The issue was the appropriateness of trustee management of the business. A resolution was reached by arranging a buyout of the non-controlling beneficiaries’ interests. Family turmoil and publicity were avoided.