Private Client Services

Trusts & Estates Controversy


Greenberg Glusker’s Trust and Estates Controversy Group represents both fiduciaries and beneficiaries involved in will and trust contests, will and trust construction, reformation proceedings and other fiduciary litigation. 

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

We have extensive expertise and experience in dispute resolution for beneficiaries, trustees and executors through the use of both negotiation and litigation. Our comprehensive counsel includes representing beneficiaries and fiduciaries before the probate court in accounting, construction and contest proceedings. In addition, and where appropriate, we represent beneficiaries and fiduciaries in civil litigation proceedings.

Representative Experience
  • Successfully settled dispute among co-trustees regarding the administration of an irrevocable trust resulting in the shifting in control to our clients of in excess of $200 million in trust assets and reformation of the dispositive provisions of the trust.
  • 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 paid by the executor.
  • Obtained court reformation of a $200 million testamentary trust and negotiated with the IRS to achieve desired estate tax objectives.
  • Achieved a favorable settlement for our client, a widow, who brought litigation against her deceased husband's multimillion-dollar estate. Grounds for the lawsuit included 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 of a multi-hundred-million-dollar trust based in the Midwest. The trust was the majority owner of a publicly owned communications and media company headquartered in the South and the dispute was among family members.