Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law

Richman Greer represents clients in all forms of probate court litigation, including will contests, trust and will interpretations, and estate and guardianship administration disputes. The firm provides estate planning services, including estate, gift and generation skipping tax planning, as well as will and trust preparation. Further, the firm assists survivors in post mortem administration and tax planning, including estate and trust administration.

Featured Experience

1Defended claims in probate action where biological heirs sought to disgorge over $6 million paid by their father during lifetime. Settlement.
2Defended personal representatives in surcharge action filed by creditors of estate in which creditors claimed over $8 million in estate assets were wrongfully expended.
3Defended trustee client against claims by beneficiary alleging breach of trust and mismanagement of trust funds.
4Represented Delaware corporate trustee with respect to a challenge to grantor’s trust on grounds including duress and lack of capacity. The case also involved claims asserted by the trust against investment advisor for mismanagement of trust assets. Case resolved at mediation.
5Represented charity in a declaratory judgment action filed by a corporate trustee to determine the intended beneficiary of an ambiguous trust. In addition to questions surrounding the intent of the settlor, challenges were made to the trust instrument on grounds including duress and undue influence. The case was resolved at mediation.
6Represented Delaware corporate trustee in a third party action where a judgment creditor alleged that funds deposited into a trust by settlor constituted fraudulent transfers. The court granted the corporate trustee’s motion to dismiss.
7Represented brother and sister who challenged their father’s last will and testament against step-mother, siblings, and corporate trustee on grounds that the will was procured by undue influence. Case settled at mediation on the eve of trial.
8Represented corporate trustee in defense of creditor’s attempts to garnish distributions to beneficiary of trust after creditor obtained judgment against the beneficiary.
9Represented charity defendant in claim involving an attempt to enforce a lost or destroyed will. After the decedent died, the personal representative located a copy of a subsequent will, which substituted one charity beneficiary for another. The personal representative attempted to enforce the subsequent will by re-establishing a lost instrument under Florida law. After discovery, and on the eve of trial, the case resolved with the charities dividing the bequest.
10 The firm represented the 5 adult children of the decedent in defense of a $6 million surcharge action. It is alleged that while acting as co-personal representatives, they expended estate funds with creditor - but not court - approval, on multi­million dollar real estate development projects around the country in which the decedent had an ownership interest. Collectively, the decedent personally guaranteed over $140 million in loans used in his development projects. His death triggered a default across the entire loan portfolio and the personal representatives worked with the creditors - the only beneficiaries of the insolvent estate - and developed a business plan with a goal of salvaging the projects to enable them to repay the debt. During the time the workout plan was in place, the creditors continued to demand that their debt be serviced and interest payments made. Due to the fact that the decedent passed away on the cusp of the worst real estate rescission in decades, the efforts of the personal representatives were ultimately not successful in salvaging all of the projects, resulting in many going into foreclosure. Though the efforts of the personal representatives reduced the estate's exposure by over $41 million, the creditors took the positon that despite their agreement to the plan and the expenditures, and despite that the funds were used to the creditors' benefit, because the personal representatives failed to obtain prior court approval to use estate funds, the personal representatives should be ordered to repay to the estate the funds expended in connection with the real estate projects. Following mediation, we were able to negotiate a settlement of all claims and obtain releases in favor of all clients and a discharge from the probate court.