Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation Result
Successfully defended, and obtained a profitable settlement for, settlors’ employee and trusted confidant of over ten years. Settlors entrusted client to operate their retail franchise and expand their real estate empire and then ultimately appointed client as a trustee of their family trust and named him a beneficiary as well. To further reward client for his continuing years of service after settlor husband’s death, the survivor made client a beneficiary and trustee of her separate property trust. Yet, despite being praised by both settlors during their lifetimes for client’s immigrant success story and for generating millions of dollars of wealth for the settlors and their financially dependent adult children, client was accused of a myriad of baseless claims by the settlors’ child once the survivor passed away. To further exacerbate an already overly hostile and “scorched earth” lawsuit, the parties were simultaneously endeavoring to work together to raise cash for estate tax purposes, conduct a forensic accounting of the survivor’s commingled finances, and file the survivor’s estate tax return – an endeavor that was needlessly hostile toward client and, in turn, was irreversibly draining the assets on a monthly basis. Through relatively early mediation, client obtained a highly favorable settlement, which, when taking into account the alarming rate at which his adversaries were depleting the survivor’s assets, turned out to be, quite ironically, nearly equivalent to what would have been client’s intended bequest under the disputed trust. Client walked away with wealth-generating assets and no further professional obligations to his adversaries. Most importantly, client walked away finally free of his personal commitment to financially provide for settlors’ child, which was borne from his unwavering loyalty to his longtime employer, mentor, and friend, the settlors.