Private Client Services

Probate

Our Probate, Estates and Trusts Litigation Group has a national reputation for achievements in this specialized and often personally-charged area of law.  Our comprehensive counsel includes representing beneficiaries and fiduciaries before the probate court in accounting, construction and contest proceedings.  We also represent both fiduciaries and beneficiaries involved in will and trust contests, will and trust construction, reformation proceedings and other fiduciary litigation.

Drawing on our strength as a preeminent Southern California trust and estates practice, along with the  power of our Firm’s first-chair trial litigators, our Probate, Estates & Trusts Litigation Group achieves consistently strong results in intra-family disputes arising from wills, trusts, conservatorships and guardianships.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained court reformation of a $200 million testamentary trust and negotiated with the IRS to achieve desired estate tax objectives.
  • Successfully settled a substantial palimony action in favor of the defendant shortly before our client’s summary judgment motion was to be heard.
  • Settled multiple actions against an estate relating to an alleged gift of stock and other claims totaling approximately $14 million for significantly less than 10 percent of the amount claimed.
  • Obtained a seven-figure judgment against a former trustee and defeated the former trustee’s petitions to approve its accounting and obtain payment of substantial legal fees.
  • Successfully settled an intensely litigated elder abuse action and a related petition in the probate court brought against our client.  The settlement involved our client paying virtually nothing and receiving reimbursement of the attorneys fees incurred.
  • Defended in the U.S. Tax Court a $100 million self-dealing IRS tax assessment against the executor of the estate of an internationally recognized artist. The ultimate settlement resulted in no taxes being paid by the executor.
  • Achieved a favorable settlement for our client against her deceased husband's multimillion-dollar estate based on the claims that she did not have independent counsel at the time she consented to her husband's will which disinherited her.
  • Negotiated a settlement on behalf of a trust beneficiary in an intra-family dispute relating to a multihundred million-dollar trust that was the majority owner of a publicly owned communications and media company.

 For more information, please contact Marc M. Stern.