Will, Trust & Fiduciary Litigation

Brody Wilkinson has substantial experience representing individuals, fiduciaries and beneficiaries in complex probate disputes such as will contests, trust interpretation litigation, fiduciary management controversies, accounting matters, and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.

We are well equipped to resolve these disputes through negotiation and, when necessary, litigation.  The value we add to this process is substantial given the fact that we not only understand the substantive nature of these issues but also possess the strategic and tactical skills necessary to bring such cases to resolution.  We communicate solutions and alternatives to clients at every step.  Our clients derive comfort from the fact that the same attorneys who are navigating their disputes also know how to construct critical estate planning documents; we understand our subject matter inside and out.  In addition, if we need additional support, we draw upon the resources of the firm’s esteemed Business Group.

Our attorneys regularly manage and advise on sophisticated disputes in probate and State courts related to:

  • Accounting matters
  • Audits
  • Commitments of mentally ill individuals
  • Conservatorship & guardianship proceedings
  • Creditor rights in probate proceedings
  • Divorce-related estate planning issues
  • Fee disputes
  • Fiduciary management issues
  • Insolvent estate proceedings
  • Removal of executors & trustees
  • Shepherding personal injury proceeds through probate
  • Trust & will construction issues
  • Will contests

Representative matters include:

Representation of a widow (of a 26-year old man who disappeared in 2005 while on his honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean) in acquiring probate court approval of her settlement agreement with a cruise line, which was contested by her husband’s parents.  The parents subsequently appealed the probate decision and a global settlement of their differences was ultimately reached.

Representation of a conservator in acquiring permission from the probate court to authorize a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) directive on a terminally ill conserved person whose family members disagreed over health care decisions.

Representation of a niece in challenging the last Will and Revocable Trust of her aunt.  The aunt signed the estate plan documents two weeks before she died, leaving her estate to the accountant who held her power-of-attorney.  The probate court found the aunt lacked the testamentary capacity to execute a Will, trust and several deeds of real property.

Administration of an estate where the decedent died owning
a closely held insurance company with outstanding multi-million dollar debts.  In representing the surviving spouse, we dissolved the corporation, administered the claims process in a receivership proceeding, represented the decedent’s interest in a contested action regarding insurance proceeds, and administered an insolvent estate proceeding to conclusion.

Representation of a prominent bank trustee in a contested matter where several beneficiaries of a trust challenged the bank’s trustee fees for a period of over 35 years.  The probate court granted a motion to limit the review of the trustee fees and the dispute was then successfully resolved.

Representation of a beneficiary in a claim against the executor for misappropriation of the decedent’s funds, where the assets were returned to the probate estate and the fiduciary was surcharged for the excess fees incurred by the estate because of his actions.

Representation of numerous fiduciaries and beneficiaries in defending or attacking the actions of fiduciaries in estate or trust administration.

Representation of a brother in becoming a family patriarch’s temporary conservator, permanent conservator, temporary administrator and executor in a contested conservatorship/estate involving legal issues concerning validity of estate planning documents, management of 17 real estate properties in three states, paternity, commercial tenancies, title problems, intra-family loan disputes, disputed gift transactions and a federal/estate tax audit.

Representation of an individual whom a local hospital was attempting to have declared legally incompetent and conserved.

Modification of a 70-year old charitable trust to adapt to the current needs and obligations of the charitable beneficiary.

Reported cases include:

Connecticut Bank and Trust Company v. Brody Wilkinson, 174 Conn. 616 (1978)

Banks of Boston v. Brewster, 31 Conn. App. 215 (1993)

Rosenfeld v. Frank, 208 Conn. 562 (1988)

In Re Estate of George Smith, IV, 22 Quinnipiac Prob. L.J. 83 (2009)

Brown v. Fenyes, 127 Conn. App. 771 (2011), cert. denied, 302 Conn. 902 (2011)

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