The firm’s Trust & Estate Litigation Practice Group 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 attorneys have 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. We 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 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;
- Expanding the scope of safe harbor discovery in will contests to in terrorem clauses (a/k/a no contest clauses) contained in revocable trusts for the first time under New York law;
- 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.