The disposition of estates and trusts can often result in disputes that inevitably result in court intervention, particularly when there is significant family wealth, family history, and emotion at stake. As estate planning becomes a more complex and specialized field, involving tax and financial plans to minimize taxes and maximize economic gain, the human aspect of transitioning money from one generation to the next can often be overlooked. Problems arise when there are conflicting interpretations of fairness within the family and the wishes of the deceased.
For these reasons, estates and trusts litigation continues to be a rapidly growing subset of the trusts and estates field, which requires significant experience not only in litigation and courtroom practice and procedure, but also in areas of estates, trusts, and taxation. Members of Saul Ewing’s Estates and Trusts Litigation Practice are seasoned attorneys who possess extensive experience in this subspecialty and who have litigated a wide variety of disputes, including:
- The standard of care and duties applicable to fiduciaries, including agents, guardians, executors, and trustees;
- Fiduciary compensation issues;
- Will and trust contests;
- Surcharge actions for breach of fiduciary duty and resulting damage;
- Fiduciary removal actions;
- Court proceedings involving nonprofit organizations, charitable trusts, the Doctrine of Cy Pres, and administrative deviation in the context of charitable gifts and nonprofit organizations;
- Shareholder dispute issues in the context of estate and trust related matters for closely held and family businesses;
- Court proceedings to seek the removal of a fiduciary; and
- Unauthorized gifting, self-dealing, and conflict of interest claims in the context of power of attorney disputes and disputes concerning joint bank accounts and transfer on death accounts.