Even the most thoughtful estate plan can face unexpected issues. Disputes among beneficiaries and fiduciaries concerning the administration of estates and trusts happen. Fortunately, Thomas & Libowitz has not only an in depth understanding of the applicable law but also an appreciation of the complex relationships that often underlie disputes that can lead to litigation. The firm’s fiduciary litigation team has experience representing trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries and other fiduciaries regarding a broad range of contested matters in Maryland.
Having a solid grasp of the substantive common law and statutory requirements governing fiduciary disputes, including Maryland’s Trusts Act, General and Limited Power of Attorney Act, Transfer on Death (TOD) Act and the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act is critical to your case’s success.
At Thomas & Libowitz, we work to proactively anticipate legal problems rather than react to them. As such, our team includes both trial lawyers and estate planning lawyers who frequently confer with our trust and estate clients on litigation prevention techniques and practices.
Should litigation become unavoidable, we endeavor to succeed for our clients through well-coordinated and well-planned trial preparation. This includes pre-litigation fact review; advice and strategic planning; pleadings preparation; document discovery; and depositions. Additionally, we also continue to explore mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods until the trial or hearing.
The lawyers of Thomas & Libowitz can help you with the following:
- Will or Trust Contests
- Caveat Proceedings
- Exploitation Claims/Diminished Capacity or Vulnerable Adult Cases
- Document Construction Cases, including:
- Cy Pres
- Charitable bequests
- Inheritance of Adopted Children
- Beneficiary Qualification
- Tax Apportionment
- Removal of Trustee/Appointment of Successor Trustee
- Trust Reformation Cases
- Tax Compliance
- To Correct a Drafting Mistake
- Seeking Equitable Relief
- Modification of a Document
- Termination of a Trust
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cases, including:
- Duty of Loyalty Disputes;
- Improper Investment Cases
- Non Judicial Settlement Agreements
- Improper Charges
- Claims by and among Beneficiaries
- Contested Accountings- Both Estate and Trust Accountings
- Guardianship/Conservatorship Proceedings
- Discovery of Asset Proceedings
- Non-Judicial Settlement Agreements
- Uniform Trust Code Issues
- Malpractice Involving Planning or administration of Trusts or Estates
- Defense of Class Action Cases Involving Claims Against Fiduciaries
Probate avoidance techniques (using revocable trusts and beneficiary designation) has been a “trend” because it does not require court supervision. But, this has also caused a corresponding rise in disputes by and among beneficiaries and fiduciaries concerning estate plans and the administration of estates and irrevocable trusts. As there are now more individuals serving as trustees than ever before, there is a corresponding rise in disputes caused by inexperienced trustees handling complex trust matters.
We understand the various common law and statutory requirements governing fiduciary disputes. This includes the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Principal and Income Acts, the Uniform Trust Codes, the Prudent Investor Act and the critical fiduciary exceptions to attorney-client privilege laws. This foundational understanding enables us to work with:
- Banks and trust companies.
- Trustees and other fiduciaries.
Our attorneys not only provide representation in court, but through careful policy and practice analysis, can predict problems before they arise in order to minimize litigation.