Fiduciary & Trust Litigation

With the aging of the population, billions of dollars, and control of many privately owned businesses will be passed from one generation to the next, primarily through bequests in wills, trust provisions, gifts to custodial accounts, buy/sell agreements and other planning devices. This vast shift in wealth will be accompanied by the inevitable disputes between dissatisfied beneficiaries, family members, partners and shareholders on the one hand, and trustees, personal representatives and similar fiduciaries on the other. Thrown into the mix will be claims against attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, banks and others where parties are dissatisfied with the results of planning and trust and estate administration after the fact.

Few estate attorneys have the trial skills necessary to effectively handle these cases in court. Few trial attorneys possess the knowledge of estate and probate law necessary to understand the complex issues that arise in these cases, and most are unfamiliar with the special procedures unique to practice in the Orphans’ Courts of Pennsylvania.

Rhoads & Sinon combines the extensive trial experience of its litigation practice group and its trusts and estates practice to handle this complex area of fiduciary litigation. We frequently represent individuals, families, beneficiaries, executors, trustees, guardians, non-profit entities, banks and trust companies when fiduciary claims arise, and provide valuable counsel to fiduciaries about their duties in order to assist them in avoiding future claims. We have also represented attorneys, accountants and others in defense of claims of professional malpractice which sometimes arise in this field. Our attorneys have experience with the distinct procedures of the Orphans’ Court, which handles estate, trust, guardianship and charitable matters.

We are experienced in handling diverse and complex fiduciary litigation issues involving:

  • breach of fiduciary duty,
  • will contests,
  • breach of buy/sell agreements,
  • business and asset valuation disputes,
  • undue influence claims,
  • challenges to fees and commissions,
  • challenges to investment decisions and results,
  • cy pres petitions,
  • guardianship issues,
  • actions taken by agents under power of attorney,
  • removal of fiduciaries,
  • surcharge of fiduciaries,
  • interpretation of wills,
  • issues involving charitable trusts and foundations,
  • fiduciary and estate tax errors and omissions, and
  • mistakes in drafting wills and trust instruments.

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