Devine Millimet has assembled a team of probate attorneys with broad experience before the probate and superior courts--a team that is able to effectively and compassionately protect our clients' interests. Disputes arising from a will or a trust, or from the improper management of a loved one's assets are difficult financially and emotionally. Our team understands that successful resolution of these disputes requires more than just knowing our way around the courthouse. When estate disputes arise between family members, friends or trusted advisors, we provide clients with insight while being sensitive to their unique interpersonal dynamics and provide the determined advocacy necessary to bring these matters to successful resolution. Our team works closely with our estate planning and tax lawyers, who have the specific expertise to work through the many issues related to probate litigation— allowing a comprehensive approach to wealth transfer problems.
Our clients include individuals, executors, trustees, families, financial institutions, and charitable organizations. We have successfully initiated and defended "will contest" claims, fiduciary accounting actions, claims involving the financial exploitation of the elderly, guardianship petitions, disputes among will or trust beneficiaries, and related wealth transfer matters.
Will Contests and Trust Challenges
We represent individual and charitable beneficiaries in cases involving challenges to estate plans. We have extensive experience with challenges based on claims that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity and/or was unduly influenced to create or modify the plan. We also represent executors and trustees in efforts to uphold estate plans in the face of such challenges. Our team understands the unique legal and factual challenges inherent in these claims and can help bring these matters to successful resolution.
Disputes often arise when family members seek appointment as guardian over another aging family member. We represent individuals in these actions, from the initial stages of guardianship appointment to disputes over or challenges to the guardian’s work.
Fiduciary Accountings (Power of Attorney), Trust, and Estate Accountings
Financial exploitation of the elderly is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Our team routinely represents individuals in cases involving the mismanagement of trust or estate funds or property, or the misuse of power of attorney documents.
Beneficiary Claims – Against Executors and Trustees
Sometimes claims must be asserted by or against an estate fiduciary. We represent executors, beneficiaries, and creditors in varied actions before the New Hampshire Probate Division or Superior Courts.
Mediation and Dispute Resolution
Our team of litigation specialists recognizes the need to aggressively pursue or defend claims before our courts. However, we are also trained mediators and understand that sometimes, especially given the family dynamics at play in this area of law, a negotiated agreement might be a better way to proceed. Our team looks at each case with this in mind, and, when appropriate, will use its experience and skill so that our clients can achieve a solid settlement agreement through informal negotiation or more formal mediation sessions.
MATTERS INVOLVING WILLS & ESTATES
- Successfully represented charities in highly-publicized Webber Estate litigation, setting aside the estate plan on grounds of undue influence.
- Represented successor trustee in highly publicized Tamposi Trust litigation, involving trust assets of approximately $140,000,000.
- Represent executors in “defending estate” plans against claims of undue influence and lack of capacity.
- Represent executors and trustees in claims related to alleged wrongful probate and trust administration.
- Represented corporate fiduciary in action by beneficiary of a $20,000,000 estate challenging various aspects of the estate administration.
- Represent various parties to challenge wills on grounds of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity.
- Represent individuals in connection with the application of New Hampshire intestacy laws.
- Represented heirs in action against attorney for alleged conflict of interest in failing to advise spouse to retain separate counsel.
- Represented beneficiary challenging executor’s inventory and alleging that assets had been misappropriated from the estate.
- Represent spouses in actions involving an “oral will.”
MATTERS INVOLVING TRUSTS
- Represented trustees of a charitable trust in action brought by the Director of Charitable Trusts.
- Represented fiduciaries of a trust of a deceased United States Senator in connection with various issues raised by beneficiaries.
- Represented trustees in connection with successful petition to convert the trust to a unitrust.
- Represented trustees and beneficiaries of charitable trusts in connection with efforts to reform or terminate the trusts.
- Represented clients in disputes among siblings involving numerous real estate assets, trusts and corporate entities.
- Represented trust beneficiaries seeking distribution under the terms of the trust and trust termination.
- Represented of the trustee of a defectively drafted trust instrument in a challenge by stepchildren to the first wife’s right to distribution under the trust.
- Represent family members seeking to be appointed guardian over the person and estate of disabled or incompetent parents.
- Represent family members seeking appointment of guardian of minor.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
- Represented beneficiary against agent who misappropriated assets by use of attorney, resulting in damages award in excess $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees.
- Represented husband whose exercise of power of attorney granted by his wife was challenged by his stepson.
- Prosecution and defense of various claims involving the exercise of powers of attorney.