When representing estate or trust representatives or beneficiaries, we work diligently to resolve any disputes which may arise without the need for litigation. However, in certain instances it is unavoidable to assert or defend claims before in Court.
Litigation can occur at several stages. There may be a challenge to the admissibility of a will, or the suitability of a nominated trustee or representative. The estate or trust representative may need to commence proceedings to discover or obtain possession of assets. A beneficiary may object to certain conduct of the executor/trustee with regard to the estate/trust assets, including allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty, imprudent investment or management decisions, or self-dealing. An executor/trustee may be required to obtain Court approval of an accounting of all of her conduct with regard to the assets of the estate or trust.
We have extensive experience in all aspects of trust and estate litigation. Among our successful representations are litigating on behalf of an executor which resulted in the recovery of more than $500,000 in estate assets which had been wrongfully claimed by a beneficiary. We have also successfully defended an executor in an accounting proceeding in which his co-executor and estate beneficiaries sought to impose a surcharge due to a purported rejection of an alleged offer to purchase the estate’s interest in certain businesses for $22 million.
Our attorney’s have extensive experience in will contests, discovery proceedings, contested accountings and other proceedings before the Surrogate’s Courts in Nassau, Suffolk, New York, Queens, Kings, Westchester and Orange counties.
The representation of executors from time to time includes litigating estate matters outside of the Surrogate’s Court, in the state and federal courts of federal jurisdiction or in administrative proceedings. We have represented estate representatives in a wide variety of matters, which have recently included the estate of a prominent NFL agent in actions to collect commissions owed on contracts negotiated by the agent during his life (which required arbitration hearings in Virginia and federal Court actions in Virginia and Arizona). We have also assisted an estate to successfully defend against the attempts of a business partner of the deceased to deprive the estate of its ownership interest in a business and to later obtain a summary judgment decision from a bankruptcy court in Florida which found that a significant judgment rendered in favor of the estate could not be discharged at bankruptcy.