Carefully crafted trusts and estate planning documents may minimize the publicity and expense of the probate process. Unfortunately, they cannot guarantee that disputes will not arise. When controversies do ensue, our probate attorneys have the skills and experience to resolve them.
Recognizing that these issues are often emotionally charged and complex, we work with our clients to settle these matters as quickly and efficiently as possible. Disputed probate matters require creative, technical, and practical solutions. Our seasoned probate litigators have the expertise, temperament, and analytical focus to approach these issues with both reason and skill.
We have extensive experience in all types of matters, including:
- Will contests;
- Will and trust reformations;
- Trust restructuring and decanting;
- Negotiation and crafting of non-judicial settlement agreements;
- Estate and trust administration matters, including claims by and against fiduciaries, and contested accountings;
- Contested guardianship and conservatorship proceedings; and
- Advice to fiduciaries to avoid or in anticipation of litigation.
We recognize that mediation or other forms of negotiated resolution are frequently in our clients' best interests in estate matters. We are experienced in preparing for and participating in that process and have a record of success in these forums as well.
We are often chosen to represent attorneys when they are acting in a fiduciary capacity and are in need of counsel, a record of which we are especially proud, as it reflects our colleagues’ respect for our work.
- Brought successful claims on behalf of an estate and a disabled heir against a former administrator for the return of assets belonging to the estate.
- Procured a reversal from the Massachusetts Appeals Court of a trial court judgment against our client as executor of his mother's estate. Read the decision.
- Obtained the allowance of a contested will, which was self-written by the testatrix.
- Obtained a judgment in a will contest restoring a lottery prize to an estate and invalidating an assignment of the prize to a separate trust.
- Represented a trustee in claim against an agent and lender to the trust who had used access as lender to facilitate diversion of trust assets to himself. The trial court found that the agent/lender had violated its fiduciary duty and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision.
- Represented the trustee of a trust engaged in real estate development in prosecuting claims against an agent of the trust for fiduciary breach and other matters.
- Represented an international religious organization and several religious charities in settling claims that the trustees of a testamentary trust placed their interests above interests of the beneficiaries and deprived the beneficiaries of a favorable settlement in a matter raised by individuals claiming to be heirs to the estate.
- Represented a trustee in defense of a breach of fiduciary duty claim regarding the trustee’s restructuring of how trust assets are held.
- Represented a special personal representative in connection with questions regarding a death bed marriage.
- Successful negotiation of numerous non-judicial settlement agreements on issues ranging from trustee succession, reformation, and outdated estate tax formulas.
- Enforcement of testamentary provisions of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.
- Advised a beneficiary of an estate with regard to effect of a no-contest provision.
- Advised a family concerning situs transfer, tax, and generation skipping tax issues regarding potential trust reformation.