Estate and Trust Litigation
Being involved in litigation can be difficult. These difficulties are only compounded when the issues involve family, friends and time-honored relationships.
Our attorneys provide skilled representation to families, corporations and individual fiduciaries and other parties engaged in trust contests, will contests, accounting actions, trust and will construction actions where the meaning of an instrument or identity of a beneficiary is at issue, reformation suits, as well as a wide range of other fiduciary litigation. We work closely with our clients, explaining each step of the process to inform and counsel them with creative strategies to avoid litigation and guide them through the litigation process if necessary.
We pair the technical knowledge of our Trusts and Estates practitioners with seasoned litigators to provide intelligent and attentive counsel and effective dispute resolution results.
The Litigation Team
We can assist with:
- Will contests
- Probate and estate litigation
- Trust disputes
- Breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Breach of buy/sell agreements
- Business and asset valuation disputes
- Undue influence claims
- Challenges to investment decisions and results
- Cy pres petitions, trust reformation proceedings and complaints for instruction
- Guardianship issues
- Actions taken by agents under powers of attorney
- Removal and surcharge of fiduciaries
- Disputes involving charitable trusts and foundations
WE work WITH:
- Individuals and families
- Trust companies
- Charitable entities
- Family offices
- Trust beneficiaries
- Corporate fiduciaries
- Trustees and executors
We counsel clients on all aspects of estate disputes, including investigating potential claims, evaluating the merits of bringing a claim, filing or defending a claim, and litigating a claim through trial or settlement.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in representing clients in challenges to wills – and in defending executors against challenges to wills – on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity of the testator, fraud, and lack of compliance with proper will formalities. We also regularly represent clients in will interpretation disputes.
We regularly represent trustees and beneficiaries in disputes involving trusts, including claims of breach of fiduciary duty, failure to inform and report to beneficiaries, violation of prudent investor acts, and trustee removal actions. We have deep experience litigating claims under the EPTL and SCPA.
Our attorneys have routinely litigated guardianship matters. As the nation’s population ages, guardianship disputes are becoming increasingly common, particularly because such disputes can at times serve as a precursor to a later will or trust dispute. We regularly counsel family and friends on the best strategic approach to such disputes, and also have extensive experience in asserting and defending against claims of abuse of authority under a power of attorney, in connection with guardianship proceedings. Moreover, we regularly represent guardians in seeking court approval for various estate planning actions.
Elder Law Disputes
We often counsel families and friends in circumstances involving elder law disputes and the exploitation of elderly persons. We are frequently called on to represent clients in instances of elderly persons being pressured to change their estate planning documents or make gifts, exploitation of elderly persons, and parent-napping.