Private Client Services

Probate Litigation

Wiggin and Dana's reputation as a "go to" firm for 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 Probate Litigation Practice Group, comprised of seasoned trust and estate and trial lawyers, provides a broad range of services, from counseling and strategic planning, to pre-objection discovery and full-blown litigation.

We have successfully represented clients in connection with:

  • Contested probate proceedings, including challenges to the testamentary capacity of the decedent, allegations of undue influence and/or efforts to set aside death-bed wills;
  • Contested accounting proceedings, including challenges to fiduciaries' failure to diversify or otherwise comply with the New York Prudent Investor Act and similar laws in other states;
  • Proceedings involving allegations of misfeasance and malfeasance against executors and trustees. 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;
  • Conservatorship 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;
  • Contested applications for attorneys' fees and fiduciary commissions;
  • Reformation proceedings seeking to establish the meaning of key provisions in a will or trust instrument;
  • Proceedings arising from lost or misplaced wills;
  • 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.