Find Lawyers in Miami, Florida 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.
Christopher W. Boyett co-chairs Holland & Knight's National Private Wealth practice. Mr. Boyett advises domestic and international wealthy families throughout Florida on sophisticated estate planning strategies and options and counsels family businesses on succession planning and tax planning. Additionally, he advises both institutional and individual clients on estate and trust administration issues. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law, Graduate Program in...
Nicholas E. Christin joined Wicker Smith in 1997 and is a Managing Partner in the Miami office. He maintains a general commercial practice with an emphasis on estate planning, estate administration, probate litigation and the representation of professionals and other individuals in their professional practices and business entities. Since 1979, Mr. Christin has been an adjunct professor in the University of Miami LL.M Program in Estate Planning. He has taught Income Taxation of Trusts and Est...
Richard C. Milstein concentrates his practice on complex, not so complex, and high conflict trust, probate, estate, and guardianship litigation and administration, and family law matters. With Richard’s over four decades of experience in these areas, he ably assists clients and members of families, whether related or not, with resolution of their issues in a caring and sensitive manner. In addition to litigation and administration services, Richard provides life and estate planning advi...
Diana S.C. Zeydel focuses her practice on estate, trust and tax planning for high net worth individuals and families. Her practice includes planning for U.S. and non-U.S. citizens and residents. She specializes in sophisticated intra-generational wealth transfer strategies and business succession planning. She assists clients in litigated probate, trust and guardianship matters, and represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service in matters involving complex fiduciary income tax and es...
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