Trust & Estate Litigation
The Trust & Estate Estate Litigation team at Meltzer Lippe represents clients in trust and estate related matters before the Surrogate’s Court and other trial and appellate courts. We represent our clients in will contests, compulsory and contested accounting proceedings, will and trust construction proceedings, discovery and turnover proceedings, proceedings to determine the validity of claims, guardianship matters and other miscellaneous proceedings.
Our team has the knowledge and expertise in trust and estate planning and administration, taxation, and Surrogate’s Court practice and procedure necessary to advise both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested and uncontested matters. Our attorneys understand the sensitive nature of these matters and are dedicated to working closely with our clients to achieve their desired outcomes in an efficient manner. Our Estate Litigation team works in conjunction with our Trust & Estate group to assist clients in implementing their estate plans with an eye towards avoiding future litigation and/or to protect such plans when litigation is anticipated.
Our attorneys are also regularly appointed by Surrogates as Guardians ad Litem to protect the interests of minors, incapacitated persons and other persons whose whereabouts are unknown.
We have successfully represented clients in:
- The first New York case to uphold a common law decanting of a trust, both at the trial court and appellate division levels;
- Removing the administrator of an estate who had misappropriated estate assets for her own personal use;
- Obtaining the issuance of limited letters of administration to beneficiaries for the purpose of filing portions of the decedent’s estate tax returns where the fiduciary of the estate had a conflict of interest concerning the valuation of certain estate assets;
- Reversing on appeal with the Second Department the Surrogate’s Court’s disqualification of our client’s previous counsel thereby greatly assisting the executor/trustee’s position in the underlying accounting proceeding;
- Obtaining a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing a party from selling, transferring or encumbering real property which was improperly transferred out of a trust;
- Defeating a motion to compel the forensic analysis of a client’s computers and cell phones in a discovery and turnover proceeding;
- Dismissing objections to the due execution of a handwritten will and upholding the dismissal on appeal; and
- Reforming a will to eliminate the imposition of estate tax caused by a change in the law, thus, saving the decedent’s spouse and children more than $400,000.
Practice Group: Litigation, Construction Trusts & Estates Litigation
Areas of Focus: Complex Commercial Litigation, Estate Litigation, Real Estate Brokerage Litigation, Construction Litigation, Tax Litigation, Insurance Litigation, Employment Litigation, General Corporate and Intellectual Property
Overview: Jason brings a diverse range of complex litigation experience to the Firm. Jason’s complex commercial litigation representations include, among others, prosecuting the rights of commercial real estate brokers, defending shareholder and partnership disputes, royalty fee sharing disputes, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement and conversion actions.
Chris is an associate with Meltzer Lippe’s Litigation and Trust & Estate Litigation practice groups..
Chris concentrates his practice on all aspects of general and commercial litigation matters, including breach of contract actions, breach of fiduciary duty, claims of fraud, and other business tort actions. Chris also has vast experience in Surrogate’s Court litigation, including contested probate proceedings, fiduciary accountings, discovery and turnover proceedings, and other litigation related to estates and trusts. This experience has provided Chris with a unique perspective on how to find the best solution for his clients.
Avi co-chairs our Trust & Estates Practice Group, nationally ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News and World Report, and chairs our Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group. He is also a partner in the firm’s Business & Real Estate Taxation and Private Wealth & Taxation practice groups.
Avi provides creative and sophisticated domestic and international tax, estate planning, and asset preservation counsel to CEOs of major corporations, ultra high net worth individuals, multinational businesses, and large charitable organizations. He has also successfully represented many clients, including individuals, trusts and estates, businesses and charitable organizations with IRS and state tax audits.
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Thomas J. McGowan
Practice Group: Litigation, Trusts & Estates Litigation,
Areas of Focus: commercial litigation, trust and estates litigation
Overview: Tom is a Partner and Chair of the Meltzer Lippe Commercial Litigation Practice Group and adds his experience and expertise to the Trust & Estate Litigation Practice Group.Tom has successfully represented major lending institutions, creditor’s committees, the FDIC and RTC, corporations, partnerships, officers, shareholders, contractors, owners, sponsors, professionals and bankruptcy trustees. In a complex fraudulent conveyance and alter ego action case in Bankruptcy Court, Tom’s client received 100% of compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and a multi-million dollar punitive damage award.