Money and high emotion often mix in probate and fiduciary litigation. The dispute may involve trustees and beneficiaries in a dispute over distributions or the depletion of assets; or it may involve members of a family in a conflict over the terms of a will or the apportionment of a family business; or many other forms of disputes. Whether or not these disputes have reached formal litigation, they can be costly and debilitate the assets of a trust or estate, or damage a family business. Settling these disputes is a complex mix of the practical – draining emotion from the conflict and focusing on what’s possible – and the substantive – drafting an array of releases and waivers once an agreement is made, and ensuring finality. There are also the limits imposed by the terms of a trust or will, and the limits of a court’s equity powers. This program will provide you with a real world guide to negotiating and drafting settlement agreements in estate and trust disputes.
· Drafting settlement agreements in estate and trust disputes – and traps that lead to subsequent disputes and litigation
· Review of major provisions in settlement agreements – release, conflicts, finality, financial, tax, non-disparagement/disclosure
· Trust terminations and trust modifications by judicial order as a form of settlement
· Resolving potential conflicts between a trust document and the settlement wishes of the litigants
· Settlements involving trust terminations, trust document modifications, or alterations to trust operations
· Waivers of a right to a trial probate or fiduciary litigation
· Undoing settlement agreements that clients later regret
Steven B. Malech is partner in the New York City office of Wiggin and Dana, LLP, where he is chair of the firm’s probate litigation practice group. He is represents beneficiaries, fiduciaries and creditors in disputes involving alleged violations of the Prudent Investor Act and its predecessors, alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, disputed accountings, and will contests. He represents clients in cutting edge probate litigation matters involving trusts and estates with assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. Malech received his B.A., with special honors, from the University of Texas and his J.D. from the Connecticut School of Law.
Non-Members Must Register via Form