Trust, Estate and Fiduciary Litigation
Reinhart’s Trust, Estate and Fiduciary Litigation attorneys help trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries and other interested parties resolve a broad range of trust, estate and probate disputes involving complex legal and personal issues.
Our extensive experience, particularly in disputes involving families and closely held corporations, makes us uniquely equipped to resolve the difficult problems that arise in settling a deceased or disabled person’s estate or trust.
We handle all aspects of trust, estate, probate and fiduciary litigation, from litigation prevention all the way through trial and appeal. We have developed a reputation for negotiating creative and efficient resolutions that minimize family strife, expense and publicity.
Trustees, personal representatives and other fiduciaries who are held to the highest and strictest standards of duty, good faith and accountability are frequently sued by disgruntled beneficiaries or co-fiduciaries. Our Trust, Estate and Fiduciary Litigation attorneys advise fiduciaries, both corporate and individual, on strategies for avoiding litigation.
We possess not only the trial skills required to litigate fiduciary disputes and to effectively represent our clients in court, but also the specialized knowledge of trust, estate and probate law essential to master the complex issues that tend to dominate these cases. We represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in a broad range of trust, estate and probate matters, including:
- Defense of Corporate Fiduciaries
- Trust Litigation/Disputes
- Probate and Estate Litigation/Disputes
- Contested Guardianships/Conservatorships
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Fiduciary and Trustee Removal Proceedings
- Claims Against Estates
- Determination of Heirship
- Investment Losses
- Will and Trust Construction
- Will and Trust Contests
- Trust and Estate Asset Discovery/Recovery
- Recovery and Protection of Disputed Assets
- Power of Attorney – Agent Liability
- Undue Influence Claims
- Incapacity Claims
- Tax Litigation
- Represented a private college that was disinherited under the Will of a benefactor. At trial, Reinhart proved that the benefactor’s attorney had unduly influenced the benefactor to leave the bulk of her estate to the attorney, even though the attorney had not prepared the Will.
- Represented the children of a man whose widow violated the couple’s contract to make a Will in favor of the children.
- Represented beneficiaries against a Trustee for breach of fiduciary duty due to conflict of interest.
- Represented a beneficiary who had a claim against his stepmother who took advantage of the beneficiary’s father’s incapacity. The stepmother allegedly moved assets to joint accounts and pressured her husband to change his estate plan. We have filed a Petition alleging conversion of assets, undue influence and incapacity.
- Represented the personal representative of an estate in seeking to recover assets that were wrongfully designated to pass directly to named beneficiaries, rather than remain in the Decedent’s estate pursuant to a contract he had signed.
- Represented the personal representative of an estate and Trustee of a Trust in settling a decedent’s estate and revocable trust. The surviving spouse elected to take rights under the law rather than the provisions the decedent had made for the spouse under the Will and Revocable Trust. Many issues were litigated between the surviving spouse and the Estate/Revocable Trust. Eventually the case was resolved through court-ordered mediation.
- Assisted the Trustee of a Family Trust in defending the Trust’s right to retain significant assets that were being claimed by the surviving spouse and another family member. The dispute created various factions within the family to the point that nine different lawyers were involved in the case. Although the Trustee and beneficiaries attempted to mediate the dispute, the eventual resolution involved a very complex negotiated settlement among the extended family. The Trustee was then able to finish his administration of the Trust.
- Defended the Trustee of a Trust against claims brought by beneficiaries that the Trustee had breached its fiduciary duties. The decedent’s surviving spouse and children from a prior marriage were arguing over the division of the decedent’s assets and the Trustee was caught in the middle. The Trustee was able to negotiate a settlement between the surviving spouse and the decedent’s children that allowed them to avoid litigation and fully distribute the Trust.
- Represented Trustees in many actions including: against a beneficiary who alleged breach of fiduciary duty due to investment losses; construction of trust cases, termination of trust and approval of accounts.
- Represented the Trustee in defending an action for recovery of IRA benefits that were claimed by the Surviving Spouse pursuant to a Prenuptial Agreement.
- Assisted a charitable organization in collecting its bequests under a Will where the terms of the Will were subject to ambiguity.
- Successfully represented contingent charitable beneficiaries under a Trust in an action against a Trustee to force the Trustee to distribute several million dollars to the charitable beneficiaries where intended charitable beneficiary failed to perform the actions necessary to entitle it to the distribution.
- Successfully represented a private college in obtaining access to endowment funds for general purposes.
- Represented daughter of ward (her mother) against her brother in contested guardianship matter involving claims of undue influence, conversion and incapacity and had powers of attorney naming brother as mother’s agent invalidated and independent party named as financial guardian.
- Represented the Guardian of an incompetent parent in obtaining approval to sell the parent’s home and divide the contents among the children.
- Represented family members against a caregiver who unduly influenced their elderly mother.