Find Lawyers in Arkansas, United States for Litigation - Trusts and Estates
Practice Area Overview
Trusts and Estates Litigation proceedings encompass a variety of matters including conservatorships, guardianships, will contests, claims or defense of claims of breaches of fiduciary duties by trustees and other fiduciaries (e.g., self-dealing, conflicts of interest, breach of trust), accountings, petitions for court instructions, issues of trust modification and reformation, allegations or protection from allegations of undue influence or fraudulent conveyances, and interpretation, advocacy, or defense of testamentary capacity and decedent’s intent.
The practice of Trusts and Estates also includes litigation prevention matters including review and consultation of the policies, practices, and proposed actions of corporate, charitable, and individual fiduciaries against national or state standards for acceptable fiduciary conduct, such as the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, Uniform Principal and Income Act, and malpractice standards.
All of these proceedings take place under the auspices of state Probate Codes and the nuanced procedures of the probate and surrogate courts – the statutory authority and venue under which nearly all trust, probate, guardianship, and conservatorship matters are adjudicated.
Clients vary widely by case and include corporate or individual fiduciaries, such as trustees, executors, administrators, guardians, and conservators, and also include corporate and individual beneficiaries, conservatees, and wards.
Lawyers practicing in this area combine substantive expertise in their states' laws governing the administration of decedents’ estates, wills and intestate succession, trusts, conservatorships, guardianships, and other fiduciary issues with years of experience trying cases before both judges and juries. Lawyers also must take a collaborative and cross-disciplinary analytical approach with other disciplines such as estate planning, real estate, bankruptcy, corporate, and securities law, as well as complex civil and appellate law.
Beyond the difficult legal proficiencies demanded of lawyers in this practice area, cases involving Trusts and Estates issues also require special skills and experience in dealing with the psychology of difficult family relationships, shattering emotional experiences, such as death and incapacity, and often ill-thought-out estate plans.
In selecting counsel in a Trusts and Estates Litigation matter, it is critical to select experienced counsel as these types of cases are fraught with procedural, ethical, and state and federal tax minefields. The best of the best in this field not only bring substantial litigation and probate court experience, but also have additional skills as mediators, arbitrators, and negotiators in the non-litigated resolution of trust, estate, and protective proceedings controversies, helping resolve extremely difficult cases without costly litigation.
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William Jackson 'Jack' Butt II was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1950. Jack was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1975 and the Arkansas bar in 1981. He received his B.A. in 1972 from the University of Virginia and his J.D. with Honors in 1975 and LL.M. in Taxation in 1979 from The National Law Center of George Washington University. He joined the firm in 1981 after four years' practice with the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and two years' private practice in Fairfax, Virginia. Jack r...
Allison J. Cornwell practices in the areas of estate and gift taxation as well as corporate and real estate planning and transactions. She also counsels private clients on estate and trust matters, including probate administration. Allison is a former lecturer on estate and gift taxation at the University of Little Rock Bowman School of Law. Allison was recently elected as a Fellow by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). This appointment demonstrates her high level of exp...
Steve Lancaster has a commercial litigation practice, primarily in the areas of breach of contract litigation, trust litigation, engineer and architect defense, gaming regulation, title insurance litigation and general commercial dispute resolution. Lancaster is the Chief Operating Officer for Wright Lindsey Jennings and has been with the firm his entire legal career. Lancaster’s more recent experience includes: Counsel for an international oil and gas company in litigation resulting fr...
Sarah Patterson has practiced law for 18 years and is a part of the Trust and Estate Planning Practice Group with the firm. Her focus is on estate, trust and tax matters for individuals, as well as entity formation and business planning. She also advises non-profit and tax-exempt organizations on formation, planning and tax issues.Sarah has represented many varied estates over the years, including probate proceedings and trust administration. She has assisted the executor or trustee in distri...
Clay Stone has extensive experience in handling disputes involving contested wills, trusts and gifts, the administration of trusts and estates, and guardianships. He also regularly handles complex commercial litigation matters, intellectual property disputes, construction disputes and real estate litigation. He has litigated cases throughout the State of Arkansas at both the trial and appellate levels.
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