Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation

Providing Answers, Not Just Analysis  

When facing a complex dispute over a trust or estate, you want Lurie, Zepeda, Schmalz, Hogan & Martin’s experienced litigators at the helm.  The genesis of our Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation practice was demand from trust and estate planning attorneys.  They knew our firm for our successful business litigation practice and wanted us to apply our problem-solving skills to their clients’ complex trust administration disputes, will contests and conservatorship issues.

Since those early referrals, we have resolved hundreds of matters, large and small.  We apply our skills as litigators to quickly identify the facts and establish a strategy.  We know how to get evidence admitted and, since we are frequently in probate court, the mediators and judges know us.  Along the way, our kind bedside manner helps reduce your stress as we zealously represent your best interests in the following areas:

Successfully represented trust beneficiary in asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust against successor trustee and advisors for failing to maintain and preserve trust assets and allowing residential property to sink into foreclosure.  Convinced successor trustee to sell defaulted residential property through a conventional sale, rather than an estate auction, and negotiated favorable settlement netting sufficient funds for client to relocate and purchase home.  

In a heated dispute between two sibling co-executors and sole beneficiaries of their father’s estate, successfully represented one sibling regarding the estate’s administration and distribution of assets.  In  mediation, negotiated a settlement in client’s favor.  Client received  proceeds from the sale of his father’s home and a percentage of royalties generated from songs written by his father.  

Successfully represented the successor trustee of his deceased father’s trust in the prosecution of claims against his father’s caregiver for elder abuse.  Caregiver had caused the diabetic, blind father to create an entirely new estate plan leaving substantial assets to the caregiver to the exclusion of the decedent’s children.  Over the course of multiple mediation sessions with a retired probate judge, negotiated a favorable settlement for client that required the caregiver to denounce the estate plan she had caused the decedent to execute, and transfer back title to an apartment building transferred to her under the invalidated estate plan.  

Successfully prosecuted claims for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty alleging that testamentary trustee misappropriated trust assets.   Prior to trial, obtained ex parte order removing the trustee and appointing a professional fiduciary for trust administration.  Defeated trustee’s motion to enforce No-Contest Clause in trust instrument.  Prevailed in a one-week bench trial, with client receiving a substantial financial awar

Represented trustee of testamentary trust on petition to recover trust assets taken by trust beneficiary and defended trustee against beneficiary’s cross-petition for removal.  In mediation, negotiated settlement in client’s favor and obtained substantial surcharge against beneficiary’s interest in the trust.  

Successfully represented the siblings of a wealthy decedent in a will contest against the decedent’s niece and caregiver over his $50 million estate.  Los Angeles Superior Court ruled entirely in clients’ favor on issues including testamentary capacity and undue influence.   Client’s will admitted to probate.