In addition to wealth preservation planning, we advise individuals, trustees, and personal representatives with the administration of estates, including the probate process.
There are many issues to consider. We help clients make informed decisions with tax planning, understand tax returns, pay debts and expenses of the estate, invest and distribute assets, and more. We take a proactive approach, advising clients on potential problems and helping them make forward-thinking decisions.
Unfortunately, disputes often arise. Our estate and trust attorneys frequently represent donors, individual and institutional fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and others in disputes involving the administration of a will or trust. Where possible, we seek resolution through negotiation and/or mediation. If litigation or arbitration are necessary, we utilize our court skills and expertise to achieve the best possible results for our clients.
Our areas of expertise include:
Practice Area Chair(s)
- Dispute resolution
- Distribution and valuation of assets
- Estate administration
- Filing and preparation of documents
- Formation of limited partnerships
- Funding of trusts
- Mediation and arbitration
- Protection of seniors
- Tax planning and preparation
- Wills, trusts and probate
Michael D. Levelle
Cases associated with this practice area
Protecting Senior Family Members
After a son of a woman with Alzheimer's disease had transferred her real property to himself, pursuant to a power of attorney, we filed claims against her estate and obtained substantial amounts of monies to ensure that her needs were provided for and her other children received the amounts she intended to transfer to them on her passing.
Representing Trust Beneficiaries
On behalf of trust beneficiaries, we have successfully prosecuted numerous claims against trustees. In one such case, the trial judge agreed with us that the trustees had breached their duties to the beneficiaries in a number of ways. They had arbitrarily declared that a beneficiary was incompetent, failed to keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed about the administration of the trust, attempted to sell trust property, and failed to properly manage the property. The judge awarded our clients damages and their attorneys' fees and costs, which were in excess of $250,000.
Smoothing the Troubled Estate
A client and her sister were appointed as co-personal representatives of their father's estate. Because our client lives in California, the sister was responsible for administering the assets located in the Pacific Northwest.
When the sister failed to fulfill her duties, we intervened and pursued our client's interests in court. We obtained orders that appointed a new personal representative, awarded our client her requested personal representative's fee, and required the sister to pay a substantial portion of our client's attorney fees. We also obtained orders that were necessary to move the estate toward final distribution and closing.
Attorneys practicing in this area
Brecht, Jeff D. -
Halligan, Michael G. -
Honn, Darin D. -
Kmetz, Heather A. -
Levelle, Michael D. -
Sanchez, Gabriela -
Thomsen, LL.M., Dallas G. -
Paralegals supporting this practice area
Bodenheimer, PLS, Michelle W. -
Dolan, Michelle L. -