Jump to navigation
Sam began her career in estate planning and administration and channeled that knowledge and experience into more than twenty years as a successful estate and trust litigator. Sam’s practice encompasses all aspects of estate, trust and fiduciary litigation, including: breach of fiduciary duty issues, judicial constructions of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, citations to discover or recover assets, contested heirship, adoption and paternity issues, charitable pledge disputes, guardianship matters, estate and trust administration, risk management for fiduciaries and appeals.
• Won a bench trial on behalf of a defendant in a case where the defendant’s ex-husband sought to enforce a 15 year-old promissory note.
• Helped achieve an Illinois Supreme Court victory in a case involving a claim by a charity against a decedent’s off-shore asset protection trust.
• Successfully settled an action for tortious interference with inheritance brought by three sisters against a fourth sister for her alleged mistreatment and undue influence exerted upon their elderly and infirm mother. Turning point in the case occurred when the defendant admitted to accelerating her mother’s death resulting in an amended complaint pursuant to Illinois’ “Slayer Statute”.
• Successfully defended an action on behalf of a decedent’s brother in a hotly contested case involving heirship, paternity and DNA testing.
• In a highly-publicized case brought by the Illinois Attorney General against an investment company seeking treble and punitive damages for an alleged violation of the Charitable Trust Act, briefed an ultimately successful motion to dismiss, arguing that the company should be dismissed as a party defendant because it did not qualify as a charitable “trustee” under the Act.
• Acted as one of three lead attorneys in a complex trust litigation case in Pennsylvania, the crux of which involved the appointment of a successor corporate trustee to a trust holding as its sole asset shares of a publicly-traded corporation. A significant portion of this matter involved establishing a private trust company to put forth as a successor trustee candidate. This matter resulted in multiple appeals.
• Represented several charitable beneficiaries seeking early termination of a charitable trust. Briefed a petition for trust termination and secured the Illinois Attorney General’s support. The court ultimately granted the petition.
• Successfully defended regional bank client against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty
• Acted as risk management counsel to American international financial services company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois during estate and trust administration in which one beneficiary repeatedly threatened to file suit against the client (administration was completed without any lawsuits against the client)
• Numerous favorable decisions reforming or construing wills and trusts
Northwestern University School Of Law, J.D.
Northwestern University, B.A. Political Science and International Relations
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Chicago Estate Planning Council
Young Professional Advisory Committee of the Chicago Community Trust
Chicago Bar Association (Probate Practice Committee)
Illinois State Bar Association