Ober|Kaler’s Litigation Group has considerable experience assisting clients in addressing controversies that arise in administering estates and trusts and in probating wills. Personal representatives, individual and corporate trustees, individual beneficiaries and families have sought our counsel and representation concerning the proper interpretation of wills and trust instruments, reformation of trusts, challenges to the validity of wills and trust instruments, and challenges to the administration of decedent’s estates and trust funds.
In a typical engagement, Ober|Kaler will assemble a team consisting of a trial attorney experienced in litigating estate and trust controversies and an attorney from our Estates and Trusts Group experienced in estate and trust planning, drafting and administration. This approach enables us to provide our clients the combined benefit of skilled and experienced advocates who have practiced in this substantive area together with the knowledge and experience of attorneys who regularly counsel clients with respect to estate planning strategies, the crafting of appropriate documents, and the administration of estates and trusts. Our clients’ objectives in such controversies are best achieved through the combination of attorneys with these skills.
Representative examples of Ober|Kaler’s experience in estate and trust litigation include:
- Resolving a dispute in which we represented the personal representative of an estate in excess of $10 million in defending the will against claims of fraud, undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity
- Representing beneficiaries of an estate in excess of $20 million in a controversy relating to the calculations of commissions claimed by the corporate personal representative
- Representing a beneficiary of a will and a trust in proceedings to remove the personal representative for failing to carry out responsibilities in the administration of the estate and to remove a trustee for failure to satisfy fiduciary obligations
- Securing dismissal of a claim in a Circuit Court in Maryland against a corporate trustee for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with the preservation of the assets of the trust
- Representing a financial institution serving as corporate trustee in the defense of a lawsuit asserting fraud and attempting to specifically enforce a real estate contract
- Representing the beneficiary of a $30 million residual trust in landmark Maryland litigation concerning a conditional bequest that violated public policy prohibitions against discrimination
- Assisting corporate and individual trustees with proceedings to partition assets held in common by two family trusts, each having separate trustees and beneficiaries
- Representing beneficiaries in federal litigation involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty by corporate trustees in the sale to an individual trustee of real property held by the trust
- Assisting a trust beneficiary in the adoption of adult stepchildren in order to qualify the stepchildren as beneficiaries of a family trust
- Representing an estate in proceedings to remove a personal representative based on her direct involvement in the decedent’s death and in subsequent litigation of claims by the estate against the former personal representative
- Assisting a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility in cy pres litigation necessary to allow continued operation of the facility consistent with the testator’s charitable intentions