Private Client Services

Fiduciary and Probate Litigation

Wiggin and Dana's solid reputation in the area of fiduciary and probate-related litigation has been built on our extensive experience representing individual and corporate fiduciaries, banks, beneficiaries, charitable organizations, colleges and universities, and creditors in cutting edge, high stakes matters. Our Fiduciary and Probate Litigation Practice Group, comprised of seasoned trust and estates and trial lawyers, provides a broad range of services, from counseling and strategic planning, to pre-objection discovery and court proceedings through trial.

We have successfully represented clients in connection with:

  • Will contests, including the prosecution and defense of claims involving allegations concerning lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud and lack of testamentary formalities.
  • Competing wills and cross-border disputes.  Recent cases have involved related proceedings in the U.S., Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom. 
  • Contested accounting proceedings including the prosecution and defense of claims against executors and trustees involving allegations of fraud, misappropriation of assets, self-dealing and other types of misfeasance and malfeasance.
  • Death-bed gifts and other pre-death asset transfers;
  • Fiduciary compliance with the New York Prudent Investor Act and similar laws in other states.  For example, we represented beneficiaries in the seminal case that established the definition of the term "lost capital," which is used to calculate the damages that can be imposed under New York law against a trustee accused of misfeasance in connection with the investment of trust assets;
  • Property Rights, including an estate's ownership interests in, and management rights over, real estate with a value in excess of $100 million;
  • Conservatorship/Guardianship and other proceedings involving efforts to appoint or remove corporate and individual fiduciaries. We are also regularly appointed to serve in fiduciary roles – as administrators, conservators, and guardians ad litem – in connection with such proceedings;
  • Reformation proceedings seeking to establish the meaning of key provisions in a will or trust instrument;
  • Proceedings before state and federal tax authorities regarding the amount of estate tax owed; and
  • Litigation involving professional liability claims against lawyers and law firms arising out of estate planning and/or administration issues.