Kerr & Wagstaffe attorneys are effective in resolving even the most complex, contentious and protracted probate and trust litigation. Our practice has addressed a wide range of claims and practical nuances of probate and trust litigation. In addition to representing heirs and beneficiaries, we have substantial experience litigating administrator and trustee claims. We have resolved the distribution of tens of millions of dollars in disputed assets for our clients.
Enforcement of Equalization Agreement and Attorneys’ Fees in Probate Dispute
The firm represents two brothers in their action to enforce an “Equalization Agreement” among themselves and their siblings to share equally among themselves any bequests from their father during his lifetime or in his will. The matter went to trial, at which the firm’s clients fully prevailed and received a substantial attorneys’ fees award. The judgment was affirmed on appeal. We also successfully resolved a breach of fiduciary duty action brought by the siblings arising from the purchase of land from a Trust associated with the estate.
Settlement of Estate Dispute
The firm represented an heir in an estate involving substantial real property, successfully obtaining an $18 million settlement regarding the division of the estate. Subsequently, the firm represented the heir in a lawsuit filed by her former husband against her and her sister. The former husband claimed he was entitled to a share of the estate based on a purported oral contract and sought compensation for services rendered. The firm won a summary adjudication on the contract and promissory estoppel claims on the basis that the alleged obligations of the parties were too vague and uncertain to be enforceable. The summary adjudication also alerted the Court and the plaintiff to the problems with the only remaining claim for reasonable value of plaintiff’s services. As a result, defendants achieved a settlement before trial.
Elder Abuse Claims in Probate Administration
The firm represented a special administrator for the estate of Heidi Schoenfeld in his appeal from an adverse judgment in a probate dispute involving elder abuse. The special administrator alleged that the respondent engaged in a pattern of physical and emotional abuse in order to inveigle himself into her will. The special administrator prevailed at trial on the claims of elder abuse. The trial court judgment was affirmed on appeal.