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 the daughter of Columbo star Peter Falk in a highly-contested conservatorship proceeding to secure visitation rights.  Conservatorship was granted and visitation was ordered by the Court, despite the fact that the law does not specifically grant the Court such power. 

Successfully represented beneficiaries in an elder abuse and trust administration dispute against their aunt’s caregivers for exerting undue influence in inducing the elderly lady to amend her trust.   Negotiated a settlement in beneficiaries’ favor.  Caregivers acknowledged that the amended trust was invalid and relinquished all remaining trust assets to clients.  

After an elderly man was induced to modify his will to leave his house to his gardener, defended the trustee against claims of elder abuse asserted by the gardener and prosecuted cross-claims for elder abuse and undue influence against gardener.  Successfully settled the entire matter before trial.  

In a heated family battle over the care and control of Casey Kasem, successfully represented his daughter, Kerri Kasem, in obtaining a judge’s order for the temporary conservatorship of Kasem.  

In trust administration litigation between two siblings/co-trustees, successfully represented client/co-trustee in his claim that his co-trustee/sister had unduly influenced their surviving parent to include her as a joint account holder on all bank accounts and subsequently looted the accounts before the death of their parent/trustee.  The Court found that respondent/co-trustee had wrongfully taken $253,930, entering an order holding the respondent liable for twice the value of the property wrongfully taken in bad faith and awarding our client his full attorney’s fees.  

Represented the adult children of a supermarket founder in a trust contest against their stepmother.  Clients alleged stepmother importuned their father to substantially disinherit them, claiming lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence and coercion. The case settled on confidential terms after two lengthy mediation sessions.

After a son abducted his mother, successfully obtained conservatorship of the mother and prosecuted an action for elder abuse against the son.  The son was ordered to return his mother to her home.  The judgment for elder abuse was granted and the son was disinherited as a result of the financial elder abuse.  

Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for plaintiff in a breach of trust claim relating to mismanagement of a $40 million estate.  Strategically used the threat of the “Fiscal Cliff” to negotiate lifetime gifts to achieve settlement

Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement in a highly-contentious breach of trust and elder abuse case relating to management of a $20 million trust.  Settlement was achieved by demonstrating the tax advantages of an immediate lifetime gift of real estate and the certainty of agreeing to future after-death gifts.