Practice Areas & Industries: Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP


Probate & Fiduciary Litigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Families, banks and trust companies, investment professionals and charitable organizations are frequently involved in disputes concerning estates and trusts. The Edwards Wildman Probate Litigation practice pursues the successful resolution of these probate and fiduciary disputes for our clients — both in and out of court. We zealously represent our clients in all types of probate and trust litigation, whether in State or Federal Court, at trial or on appeal, or in mediation, arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution forums.

We understand that litigation of this nature often arises quickly under highly charged or emotional circumstances. Our attorneys are prepared to react with a timely, sensitive and efficient approach to meet each client’s individualized needs.

Experienced Lawyers

The key to our success lies in the effective collaboration between experienced estate and trust lawyers from our Private Client Department and trial lawyers from our Litigation Department. Working together, we are able to deliver a wealth of substantive knowledge and practical experience in all areas of trust, estate, and tax law, while at the same time provide the strong litigation skills necessary to guide our clients through all phases of litigation from discovery to trial. Our attorneys represent both fiduciaries and beneficiaries, and regularly challenge and defend the validity, construction and interpretation of testamentary instruments. Our practice includes the following types of matters, among others:

  • will and trust contests
  • disputes over the distribution of trust assets
  • interpretation of instruments 
  • trust reformations 
  • guardianships, civil commitments and incapacity cases 
  • breach of fiduciary duty and removal actions 
  • accounting proceedings 
  • disputes over the exercise of powers of attorney
  • real estate partition actions
  • common law marriage and related tax issues

Whether representing individuals, professional fiduciaries or beneficiaries, we recognize that our job is to understand the complete range of legal, factual, financial, tax, and personal issues that each case presents; to develop and execute an effective plan to meet our clients’ goals; and to keep our clients fully informed and involved throughout the process.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented heirs in settlement and distribution of a $20 million trust in a dispute arising out of the construction of the language in the trust instrument
  • Prevailed at trial resulting in the removal and surcharge of a trustee on behalf of income beneficiaries of multi-million dollar trusts
  • Successfully represented a son seeking to become guardian of his father worth $7 million over objections of other family members and health care advocates
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a professional bank trustee in an action brought by the trust beneficiaries for breach of fiduciary duty
  • Achieved a highly successful settlement on behalf of two major Boston hospitals arising out of a dispute involving a $30 million estate
  • Successfully secured settlement proceeds of $500,000 for beneficiaries in litigation against a lawyer-fiduciary in a case involving mismanagement of trust investments and failure to secure proper charitable tax deductions
  • After two-week trial involving extensive medical testimony, obtained a favorable decision, which was successfully defended on appeal, disallowing a will in which the decedent left a fortune to a next-door neighbor
  • Prevailed in a trial in defense of a corporate trustee where the beneficiaries sought removal alleging improper administration of trust assets
  • After trial and appeal, prevailed on behalf of administratrix of husband’s will over claim by family members about validity of will, paternity of a claimed child and inclusion of assets in probate estate
  • Successfully obtained restructuring of trust corpus held in a “C” corporation to an “S” corporation, thus attaining significant tax and other savings
  • Successfully coordinated the settlement of a $55 million trust dispute
  • Won appeal affirming entry of summary judgment on behalf of trustee and beneficiaries in case brought by beneficiaries of a prior trust amendment seeking to invalidate a later trust amendment on grounds of incompetence and undue influence