Trusts and Estates Litigation Group
Our history as one of the nation’s preeminent trust & estates litigation practices started with our representation of the executors in the Vanderbilt estate case. The experienced professionals in this practice group represent decades of collective experience in trusts and estates and guardianship litigation on behalf of banks, trust departments, individuals and families in dispute resolution in state and federal courts. We also represent guardians appointed under the Mental Hygiene and Guardianship Laws. Our attorneys have also served as court-appointed guardians ad litem in significant matters and on numerous occasions have acted as trial counsel for corporate and private trust and estate fiduciaries.
We have acted in a variety of cases in this highly-specialized and burgeoning area of practice, including, by way of example:
- Will and trust contests, as counsel to proponent or objectant
- Proceedings to construe wills and trusts
- Litigation over the actions of an executor, trustee or guardian
- Proceedings on behalf of guardians to discover and recover assets
- Contested accounting proceedings in estates, trusts and guardianships
- Proceedings to remove or surcharge fiduciaries for mismanagement
- Prosecution and defense of claims against estates and trusts
- Complex litigation involving provenance and valuation of art works
- Sophisticated tax litigation involving valuation of assets
- Estate tax litigation in the United States Tax Court and other federal courts
Our primary concerns are the client’s goals and needs. To this end, we work closely with the firm’s estate planning and trusts and estates administration experts to prevent disputes whenever possible.
Members of the Trusts and Estates Litigation Group include professionals who are trained as litigators and have routinely practiced in the Surrogate’s courts for many years. As a result of this experience, our attorneys possess an in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and procedures unique to trusts and estates disputes, as well as a keen awareness and “feel” for the ebb and flow of such cases that can only come from many years of practice in this specialized area. The firm is often sought out to participate in significant disputes involving trusts, estates and guardianship matters. In addition, members of the group have written extensively in the areas of trusts and estates and guardianships, and are often asked to lecture on trusts and estates and guardianship litigation before their peers by Bar Associations, bankers, trust departments and other organizations.
Members of the group have been retained as consultants in trusts and estates litigation and have testified as expert witnesses at trial on issues as varied as fiduciary litigation over alleged violations of professional ethics by other counsel, and fee applications and the valuation of legal services.