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Fiduciary Litigation

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Overview

Our Clients

Katten's Fiduciary Litigation team represents corporate and individual executors, trustees, personal representatives, guardians, and other fiduciaries, as well as beneficiaries and other interested parties. We counsel clients on litigation arising out of estate, tax and business planning, the performance of fiduciary duties, and estate, trust, business, personal and tax disputes. Our attorneys work with fiduciaries and beneficiaries in all types of suits, government inquiries and proceedings.

Our Services

We proactively guard against litigation in the planning and administration of estates, trusts and other entities with knowledge of the highly specialized laws of estates, trusts and other fiduciary entities. When disputes arise, we look for innovative opportunities to provide win-win solutions through the understanding and use of the applicable income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax laws. Our attorneys resolve intra-family disagreements of all kinds.

When litigation becomes necessary between beneficiaries and fiduciaries, we provide representation in all forms of will and trust construction and in reformation proceedings and will and trust contests. We resolve creditors' claims and beneficiary-trustee disputes that arise in the post-death administration of assets in an efficient, tax-sensitive manner. Our attorneys work to acquire a decedent's assets from others who claim title to those assets, and represent both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in fiduciary removal and surcharge proceedings and in contested accounting proceedings.

We also represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service and other federal, state and local agencies. We advise on tax litigation arising from the audit of federal estate, gift or generation-skipping tax returns. Our team represents corporate fiduciaries in class action, derivative, strike and other similar suits. With years of practical experience, Katten's Fiduciary Litigation team guides clients through all compliance, regulatory and related issues.

Experience
  • Representation of a trustee in connection with contentious intra-family issues in multiple states.
  • Representation of beneficiaries of a series of trusts who allege that their trust funds were diverted to the personal use of the family trustees.
  • Defense of the executors of the estate of a prominent New York real estate developer against claims brought by essentially disinherited children.
  • Representation of an individual in litigation in multiple states in connection with her interests in the estate of an insurance executive and investor.
  • Defense of a financial institution as trustee of a trust that held development real estate against alleged wrongs, primarily selling too soon and missing a run-up in the market.
  • Representation of one of multiple executors of the estate of a famous real estate developer in a decades-long litigation involving assets in multiple countries.
  • Expert witness regarding the largest individual deficiency assessed by the IRS in US history stemming from a family's use of offshore trusts/subsidiary entities in a case closely watched by the entire international estate planning bar.
  • Defense of the will of an environmentalist who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to create national parks in South America in contests being waged in New York, California, Argentina and Chile.
  • Court-appointed guardian ad litem in Switzerland and Bermuda representing the interests of minors/unborns in restructuring extensive overseas offshore trust holdings of one of America's wealthiest families involving highly complex tax/nontax issues and bitter litigation. Courts in both countries approved the settlement Katten reached.
Fiduciary Litigation

Recognition

Chambers USA – Wealth Management (Nationwide)
Wealth Management (Nationwide), 2006–2016

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – North American Team of the Year

North American Team of the Year, 2012
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Family Law (Charlotte)
Family Law (Charlotte), 2011–2013
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago)
Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago), 2011–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles)
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles), 2012–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (New York)
Trusts and Estates Law (New York), 2011, 2013–2018
Citywealth Magic Circle Awards
International Law Firm of the Year, 2012–2013
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles)
Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles), 2011–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (National)
Trusts and Estates Law (National), 2012–2018
National Law Journal, Elite Trial Lawyers 2015
Chambers USA – High Net Worth 2017 (Illinois)
Private Wealth Law (Illinois), 2016–2017
Chambers USA – High Net Worth 2017 (New York)
Private Wealth Law (New York), 2016–2017
Chambers USA – High Net Worth 2017 (Southern California)
Private Wealth Law (Southern California), 2016–2017
Chambers USA – High Net Worth 2017 (USA)
Private Wealth Law (USA), 2016–2017
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Recognition

Wealth Management (Nationwide), 2006–2016

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – North American Team of the Year

North American Team of the Year, 2012
Family Law (Charlotte), 2011–2013
Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago), 2011–2018
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles), 2012–2018
Trusts and Estates Law (New York), 2011, 2013–2018
International Law Firm of the Year, 2012–2013
Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles), 2011–2018
Trusts and Estates Law (National), 2012–2018
Private Wealth Law (Illinois), 2016–2017
Private Wealth Law (New York), 2016–2017
Private Wealth Law (Southern California), 2016–2017
Private Wealth Law (USA), 2016–2017
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