Our Estate and Trust Litigation practice has been an essential part of Harrison & Held, LLP from the firm’s inception. Our group provides expert representation to corporate and individual fiduciaries engaged in will and trust contests, accounting actions and litigation where the meaning of an estate plan document or the identity of a beneficiary is at issue. In addition, we have been successful at reformation suits; charitable and exempt organization litigation; and representing beneficiaries' rights in all trust and estate matters.
Our litigators are highly experienced at both the trial and appellate court level. We are skilled at enforcing rights based in state property law, while simultaneously coordinating efforts with our tax attorneys to achieve the best income or transfer tax result for our clients. The fiduciary litigation group is supported by the knowledge and proficiency of one of the largest and most well-respected estate planning groups in Chicago, and in return, the group provides our estate planners with critical advice on preventing litigation and positioning clients for a successful defense.
A sample of representative matters follows:
- Represented divorced wife in pursuing her former husband’s $100 million estate for fraud he committed at the time of their divorce twenty years earlier.
- Represented estate in defending against lawsuits brought by the husband of the decedent seeking to invalidate trusts holding tens of millions of dollars in property and investments.
- Represented corporate fiduciary in defending against beneficiary’s multi-pronged attack on the decedent’s estate plan and the beneficiary’s tort claims against the corporate fiduciary.
- Represented successful appellant in the matter of Handelsman v. Handelsman, where we convinced the Appellate Court to adopt the Restatement rule and apply the Probate Act to living trusts in construction actions; we further convinced the Court to hold that Will-substitute trusts cannot be susceptible to reformation actions.
- Represented plaintiff before the Illinois Supreme Court in a legal malpractice claim against attorney who drafted an amendment disposing of a home not owned by decedent individually and which, instead, was held by a land trust unaffected by the amendment.