Probate Litigation Attorneys
Removal of Executors and Trustees
- Represented daughter of decedent in an action to remove his sister as trustee of the trust. Daughter resided out of state and sister was named trustee under the trust created by the decedent prior to her death. The sister, however, was not providing information to the daughter and refused to provide fair share of rents on the real estate owned by the trust to the daughter. Obtained order removing the trustee and securing the appointment of our client daughter to serve in the position as successor trustee.
- Brother brought action against daughter to remove her as executor alleging that daughter had unduly influenced the decedent into executing a will benefiting the executor's son. Action resolved whereby daughter continued to serve as executor and completed the administration of the estate.
- Represented beneficiary under trust in effort to seek removal of trustee who refused to provide information regarding the administration of the trust and pre-death asset transfers. Through the course of litigation, obtained an agreement by the trustee to provide information and upon review of information determined that the trust was properly being administered. Motion to remove trustee was voluntarily withdrawn.
- Represented executor/trustee in action to remove surviving spouse as executor/trustee brought by children. Children argued that surviving spouse breached her fiduciary duties owed to the children who were also beneficiaries of the trust and acted in a manner that served surviving spouse's own interest to the exclusion of the children. The issue of removal went to trial and court agreed with our client and refused to remove her as executor or trustee.
- Represented grandchildren who were beneficiaries of the trust created by their grandfather. The grandchildren's uncle, who was a child of the decedent, served as successor trustee of the trust. The grandchildren were not receiving information regarding the administration of the trust and on behalf of grandchildren we pursued an action to remove the trustee and for surcharge. During the course of litigation, it was discovered that the trustee had taken out loans against trust assets which loans he used for his personal benefit. It was also learned that the trustee had squandered other assets for his benefit. Trustee was removed and grandchild/client was appointed as successor trustee.
- Trust was established by decedent with income to a niece for her lifetime. Trust was written by lawyer who named himself as Trust Advisor in the document with a bank to serve as Trustee. Trust Advisor had to approve all investments proposed by bank Trustee. Niece requested bank to change investment strategy and lawyer/Trust Advisor either delayed response or unreasonably withheld consent to niece's request for changed investment strategy. As a result, Trust did not grow in value as fast as it should have and annual income to niece was not as much as she needed for her day to day living. We represented bank and niece in filing to have lawyer/Trust Advisor removed for breaching his fiduciary duty and acting in self-interest. The case was tried to the Probate Court with a judgment ordering the removal of the lawyer/Trust Advisor. A new Trust Advisor was appointed to work with the bank Trustee to better satisfy the needs of our client as the current Trust beneficiary.
- Son of decedent had a volatile personality and made numerous demands on the Executor of mother's estate to make distributions and file lawsuits against mother's caregiver. Executor continued to administer the estate in the manner it deemed reasonable and elected to not pursue litigation against the caregiver.
- Represented estate in defending court's action to remove the former executor. On appeal, the Eighth District Appellate Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in removing the former executor from his fiduciary position because the trial court did not act unreasonably, arbitrarily, or unconscionably in removing the executor. Specifically, the record reflected that the former executor had failed to protect the estate assets, that the former executor had failed to administer the estate in a timely manner, and the former executor made inconsistent statements in pleadings and arguments made in an IRS case involving the estate and the guardianship case involving the decedent. Accordingly, the appellate court stated that the removal was in the Estate's best interests because the former executor was correctly removed for incompetency and fraudulent conduct.