Carr Maloney’s Estate and Trust Litigation Practice Group is composed of experienced attorneys who regularly represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in estate and trust disputes and litigation. These matters often require intricate financial and litigation strategies. Our many years of experience in complex business, accounting and fiduciary litigation, enable us to provide our clients with the insight and confidence to deal with the multi-faceted issues often central to estate and trust litigation and disputes.
Carr Maloney represents legatees, beneficiaries and/or contingent beneficiaries, and “interested persons” in will contests (“caveat proceedings”) where the issues often relate to the testamentary capacity of the testator (the one who made the will), or to claims undue influence applied upon the testator in the process of drafting estate documents. We also advise and represent personal representatives (“executors”), who must defend the will and administer estates efficiently and effectively.
Our attorneys have experience representing the Personal Representative in defending claims brought by disgruntled beneficiaries. We will also litigate on behalf of the Personal Representative seeking to collect or gain control of assets for the estate. We work with accounting firms with whom we have relationships to assist our clients to achieve the best outcome. While financial issues are central in most estate disputes, we understand and are sensitive to the emotional and interpersonal issues that can accompany and often infuse such litigation.
Personal financial and estate plans typically include various forms of trust arrangements, such as revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and life insurance trusts. Depending on the type of trust, key provisions may include not only distribution clauses, but also exculpatory provisions, spendthrift clauses, “ascertainable standards” provisions, trustee powers, trustee succession, and a host of other provisions.
Disputes and litigation may arise and some examples include disputes over:
- The trustee’s exercise of fiduciary duties
- Disputes over a trustee’s potential conflict of interest
- Disagreements over management and/or distribution of trust assets
- Questions of title to trust property
- Accountings or Reports
- Allocations between trust principle and income
Carr Maloney frequently represents trustees, seeking advice about their exercise of discretion in managing or distributing trust assets. We also defend trustees from allegations by beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries that a trustee has not properly complied with the terms of the trust instrument or with fiduciary duties. Additionally, we represent trustees in litigation to recover or claim assets for the benefit of the trust, and help manage, account for, or distribute trust assets.