Services

My legal practice is devoted to trust and estate litigation, administration and planning.

Trust & Estate Litigation

I help beneficiaries assert their rights against trustees and executors with respect to all forms of trust and estate disputes including:

  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Failure to Properly Account, Report and Inform
  • Failure to Make Proper and Timely Trust Distributions
  • Improper Investments: Lack of Diversification/Concentration
  • Excessive Trustee Compensation and Fees
  • Interpretation of Ambiguous Trust Provisions
  • Modification and Reformation of Trusts
  • Trust Termination
  • Removal of Trustee
  • Appointment of Successor Trustee
  • Improper Delegation of Fiduciary Duty
  • Accountings
  • Will Contests
  • Elective Share Claims
  • Charitable Bequests
  • Removal of Executor

Trust & Estate Administration

I represent and advise trustees and executors, guiding them in all aspects of the administration of trusts and estates.  Areas of representation include:

  • Probate
  • Accountings and Inventories
  • Valuation of Assets
  • Sale of Assets
  • Distributions
  • Interpretation of Ambiguous Trust and Will Provisions
  • Tax Elections
  • Fiduciary Duties
  • Prudent Investments
  • Compensation and Fees
  • Prudent Delegation of Fiduciary Duties

Trust & Estate Planning

I provide counsel to individuals throughout the process of planning trusts and estates.  I work with each client to develop and implement well-designed plans to achieve the orderly transfer of wealth taking into consideration each particular client’s values, goals and assets and use various tools and techniques including the following:

  • Wills
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Financial Matters
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Buy/Sell and Shareholder Agreements
  • Family Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies
  • Dynasty Trusts
  • Asset Protection Trusts and Planning
  • Life Insurance Trusts
  • Planning for Retirement Assets
  • Special Needs Trusts for Individuals with Special Needs
  • Lifetime Gifts
  • Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Planning
  • Charitable Remainder and Lead Trusts
  • Private Foundations

Fees

All fees and expenses will be fully discussed, agreed upon and documented in a formal engagement letter before the engagement begins.  The basis and structure of fees in each matter depend on the nature of the engagement.

Trust & Estate Litigation

Fees in litigation matters are based on an hourly rate, a contingency fee (a percentage of the recovery) or a blend of both an hourly rate and a contingency fee.  In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer is paid only if there is a recovery.  In litigation matters, expenses usually include filing fees, deposition fees, travel costs, expert witness fees, research services, and court reporter fees, among others.  Expenses are typically paid by the client whether the fee structure is based on an hourly rate, a contingency fee or a blend of both.

Trust & Estate Administration

Fees in administration matters are based on an hourly rate, a fixed fee based on a percentage of the assets of the estate or trust, or a blend of both an hourly rate and a fixed fee.  In estate administration matters, after a formal engagement agreement is entered into with the Executor, the agreement is submitted to all interested parties (the heirs) and to a Judge for review and approval.

Industry practices regarding fees in trust and estate administration vary widely from state to state, but in all states any fee involving administration must be reasonable. Rule 1.5 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct lists a number of factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee: (1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly; (2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer; (3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services; (4) the amount involved and the results obtained; (5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances; (6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; (7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and (8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.

Trust & Estate Planning

Fees in planning matters are based on an hourly rate or on a fixed fee.  If an hourly rate is the basis of the fee, the client will receive a fee estimate before the matter begins.  Most planning matters do not involve expenses.