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Trust and Estates Litigation

Lawsuits involving trusts and estates, such as guardianship and estate settlement matters, require substantive knowledge of fiduciary law, forensic science, medicine and psychology as well as strength in trial advocacy. These often-complex cases can also trigger highly charged emotions among litigants.

At Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin our attorneys take a client-centered approach to this specialized litigation. From the first confidential meeting, we provide answers to common questions and engage in a frank discussion of a client’s goals, attainable outcomes, best- and worst-case scenarios and the practical realities of our legal system. We work tirelessly to develop and analyze the case and are committed to keeping clients informed along the way. Our clients include individuals and families, banks and trust companies, educational institutions and charitable organizations throughout the United States and internationally. In addition to referrals from existing clients, we receive calls from estate planning attorneys and financial planners from throughout the country who are familiar with the firm’s expertise in this field of law.

Our estate planning attorneys and litigators work as a team, combining courtroom experience, a deep understanding of fiduciary, tax, real estate and business law, and innovative strategies to give clients the best chance at success. Because of our firm-wide commitment to anticipating and avoiding legal problems, we evaluate cases very carefully, assessing the costs and risks against the benefits of litigation and whether less costly or risky alternative methods are appropriate. Our attorneys will work collaboratively with opposing counsel to resolve these complex and emotional cases, but we are zealous advocates in and out of the courtroom to achieve the best possible outcome for clients.

The types of fiduciary cases we litigate include:

  • Will contests
  • Contested guardianships
  • Status, construction, interpretation and enforceability of wills and trusts, including irrevocable living trusts
  • Representation/defense of trustees, personal representatives, guardians and other fiduciaries
  • Representation of corporate and institutional trustees
  • Removal of fiduciaries
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Trust management and investment disputes
  • Undue influence claims
  • Revival of revoked wills
  • Petitions for accountings
  • Preparation and defense of fiduciary accounts
  • Resolution of debts and claims against probate estates and trusts
  • Representation of beneficiaries of trusts and estates
  • MassHealth litigation and appeals
  • Defense of trustees and other fiduciaries against nursing home collection actions