Plenty of law firms feature excellent litigators, great fiduciary and probate practitioners, and outstanding tax lawyers.

Few, however, can claim that their lawyers actually practice in all three of these areas, as ours do. Even fewer can match Holland & Hart’s experience at the intersection of fiduciary, probate, and tax law and litigation.

Each lawyer on our Trust & Estate Litigation team has a background in tax, estate planning and administration, and litigation. We approach client issues with sophisticated knowledge of the rules and responsibilities that govern negotiations and outcomes surrounding any dispute. We use this deep understanding to achieve most favorable outcomes for our clients, whether through proactive solutions, mediation, arbitration, or, when necessary, at trial and all the way through the appellate courts.

Trust and Estate Litigation Client Results

  • Prevailed at trial and obtained an award of attorney fees in a family partnership dispute involving the interpretation of a will, partnership agreement, and partnership law.

  • Prevailed at trial on nine counts of breach of fiduciary duty against a trustee, which included a complex jurisdictional argument regarding situs of the trust, presentation of over a decade of reconstructed accountings and overcoming a statute of limitations argument. Obtained awards of attorney fees against opposing counsel and the opposing party.

  • Prevailed at trial in a dispute involving the interpretation of a will contract by successfully defending claims against a beneficiary for breach of the will contract, unjust enrichment and constructive trust.

  • Prevailed on directed verdict at trial on multiple claims and successfully enforced a no-contest clause against will contestant.

  • Obtained summary judgment on claims of civil theft and breach of fiduciary duty against a former trustee who stole approximately $1.5 million from the trust—the court entered judgment for approximately $4.5 million (treble damages) and left open the possibility of obtaining additional damages at a hearing.

  • Assisted a corporate trustee to obtain a favorable settlement in a difficult estate administration, involving claims among the corporate trustee, the Decedent’s children, and the surviving spouse. The claims included a common law spouse claim, disputes over tangible personal property, fiduciary compensation, and estate tax apportionment.

  • Obtained a favorable settlement from the IRS for a personal representative, including over $1 million in abated interest and penalties on overdue estate tax.

  • Obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement for a charitable beneficiary of a trust. This complex dispute spanned many years and involved claims of undue influence, lack of capacity, breach of fiduciary duty, removal and surcharge, and the defense of fraud claims. Litigation team obtained successful results at all stages of dispute.

  • Holland & Hart successfully represented Joanne Black as appellate counsel in several appeals involving conflict of interest transactions entered into by a fiduciary, civil theft and the probate court’s jurisdiction. See Black v. Black, 422 P.3d 592 (Colo. App. 2018)(cert. denied); Black v. Black, 482 P.3d 460 (Colo. App. 2020)(cert. denied).

Trust and Estate Litigation Publications

Trust and Estate Litigation Speaking Engagements and Events

  • "Holding Closely-Held Assets in Trusts," Faculty, 40th Annual Estate Planning Retreat, Colorado Bar Association, October 2020
  • "Contesting a Trust or a Will While the Grantor or Testator/Testatrix Is Still Alive," Presenter, ACTEC 2020 Annual Meeting, Fiduciary Litigation Committee Meeting, Boca Raton, FL, March 2020
  • "Seventh Annual Fall Symposium: Emerging Trends in Fiduciary Law and Litigation," Holland & Hart, Denver, CO, October 2019
  • "In the Interest of Joanne Black, Protected Person, 2018COA7," Faculty, 38th Annual Estate Planning Retreat, Colorado Bar Association, June 2018
BAND 1: Chambers HNW: Private Wealth Law, Colorado, 2017-2022

Ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law in Colorado by Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) Guide, 2017-2022. In addition, Brent Andrewsen, Desta Asfaw, David Crandall, Laura Dinan, Chelsea L. May, Thomas Mecham, and Carol Warnick are ranked as notable practitioners.

Named in Worth's "Top 100 Attorneys"

Carol Warnick: named on "Top 100 Attorneys" list by Worth magazine, for trust and estates and other private client practice areas

3 Litigation - Trust & Estates Best Lawyers® 2022

3 Private Client attorneys recognized in Best Lawyers in: Litigation - Trust and Estates

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