Throughout our 100+ year history, businesses, families, individuals and charitable organizations have relied on us to provide creative solutions to disputes involving trusts and estates. Our goal is to help clients avoid needless litigation through careful advance planning and risk assessment.
Some disputes, however, ultimately require legal intervention. Our Trusts & Estates Litigation group features trial specialists who work closely with the lawyers in our Trusts & Estates team to provide the strongest, most efficient services to clients involved in a trust or estate-related dispute.
Our group has extensive experience dealing with a broad range of issues that are implicated in the trusts and estates context, and we always remain fully cognizant of the deeply personal dynamics that often underlie these types of matters.
Combining the expertise of our Trusts & Estates group with the courtroom experience of our litigation attorneys, our Trusts and Estates Litigation group provides clients with efficient resolutions of their trust and estate-related issues.
We are experienced in representing individuals, corporations and charitable organizations in a wide variety of estate-related disputes, including:
- Will Contests
- Lack of Capacity
- Undue Influence
- Guardianship-Related Disputes
- Testamentary Capacity
- Creditor Demands
We regularly represent individual beneficiaries and individual and corporate trustees in complex, trust-related disputes involving a variety of issues, including:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Breach of Trust Instruments
- State and Federal Securities Laws
- Trust Instrument Reformation
We have extensive experience litigating these issues on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
Family-Owned/Closely Held Business Disputes
We have extensive experience representing both majority and minority shareholders in a variety of disputes involving control, governance, dissolution, succession-planning and other business conflicts that can arise in the context of a family business.
Working with our Tax Controversy & Litigation team, we often represent individuals and fiduciaries in proceedings before the IRS, state departments of revenue, U.S. Tax Court and in state courts on matters related to trusts and estates, including:
- Estate and Gift Tax Related Litigation
- Offers in Compromise and Installment Agreements
- IRS Administrative Appeals Hearings
- Offshore Voluntary Disclosures
- Private Letter Rulings and other practice before the IRS National Office
We represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad variety of trust and estate cases and we also help clients obtain clarifications from the taxing authorities through private letter rulings, technical advice memorandums and other means. Some of the matters we have been involved in include:
- Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., et al., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue: Represented the Kohler estate in trial before U.S. Tax Court contesting IRS assertion that $60 million in taxes and penalties were owed. Tax Court concluded no additional taxes were due. (U.S. Tax Court)
- Represented a family trust in a breach of fiduciary duty claim against one of the beneficiaries who had unlawfully obtained title to a commercial office building and had appropriated several million dollars in rent. Obtained an arbitration award for return of the building and repayment of the rent.
- In re Burton J. McGlynn Revocable Trust. Obtained favorable judgment at trial in proceeding to reform trust agreement.
- Represented individual trustee in connection with a significant claim against the estate of a deceased predecessor trustee for breach of fiduciary duty due to self-dealing (predecessor trustee had made substantial loans of trust assets to failing companies who employed her during her lifetime). Representation resulted in a successful settlement of the claim given the assets available in the estate of the predecessor trustee.
- Negotiated settlement on behalf of professional fiduciary between multiple charitable beneficiaries (public and private schools) in connection with an ambiguous testamentary scholarship trust; settlement approved by Court.
- Successfully defended trustee in case alleging breaches of fiduciary duty. Achieved a finding of no liability following a week-long trial in Washington State Superior Court.
- Represented an estate in a federal tax audit, resulting in a complete victory against a challenge by the IRS, claiming more than $20 million of additional estate taxes on the theory that the estate was not entitled to a charitable deduction for assets passing to a private foundation.
Industries & Practices
- Closely Held Businesses
- Corporate Trust Services
- Nonprofit & Tax Exempt Organizations
- Real Estate & Land Use
- Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
- Tax Controversy & Litigation
- Trusts & Estates