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Family Wealth Resolution & Disputes

Family Wealth Resolution & Disputes

Our family wealth resolution and dispute team combines the advocacy skills of experienced trial lawyers with the specialized trust and administration knowledge of the complexities that live within high net wealth families and their holdings. This integration of litigation and sophisticated business and family administration gives us an unsurpassed ability to address every aspect of trust and estate litigation and makes our team uniquely qualified to represent fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and large creditors in all types of disputes immediately before and after someone dies.

The distinctive and valuable experience of our trust and estate trial lawyers is their blend of extensive command of the litigation process and broad experience handling and resolving disputes in the contexts of families, businesses and collections of other high value assets. In resolving disputes, we seek not only to negotiate the most beneficial substantive terms, but also to structure settlements to advance our client's interests. Our effective use of these tools has often been critical in achieving favorable results for clients.

We are acutely aware of the financial and emotional impact that trust and estate disputes have on families and their related institutions. We therefore maintain a close working relationship with clients throughout the litigation process to ensure we understand their priorities and partner with them when making important strategic decisions. Together, we actively weigh the risks and benefits of the available alternatives in order to achieve the best result in the most effective manner.

We also recognize the significant burdens imposed on professional and lay fiduciaries today. We have the qualifications not only to help steer away from unnecessary conflict, but, if necessary, to aggressively defend the decisions of our clients, even when those decisions may benefit the administration as a whole, but may be unpopular with one or more beneficiary. When representing a corporate fiduciary, we enjoy working closely with in-house counsel and other institutional team members to collectively and consistently provide value and wins for our clients.

In addition, we understand the necessity of controlling litigation costs, sharing or shifting those costs whenever possible. When representing beneficial interests, from the start of our representation, we identify and evaluate whether a group of beneficiaries exists with sufficient common interests to warrant joint representation. We are also proactive in preserving and protecting fiduciaries ability to have their and our fees paid through an administration. When we represent beneficiaries, we are aggressive in our efforts to prevent the depletion of our client’s beneficial share through the payment of unnecessary trustee and attorney fees.


  • Contested or challenging trust or estate administrations
  • Defense and prosecution of breaches of fiduciary duty
  • Actions to suspend and remove fiduciaries
  • Handling of large creditor claims
  • Claims arising out of third-party transactions with fiduciaries
  • Defense of estate planning and administration legal malpractice claims  
  • Disputes concerning no-contest clauses
  • Will and trust contests
  • Proceedings to interpret ambiguous provisions of various written instruments
  • Elder financial abuse claims
  • Suits to invalidate gifts to "prohibited transferees" under Probate Code §21350, et seq.
  • Cy pres actions  
  • We have extensive experience representing non-profit foundations and charitable organizations to preserve bequests and defend against attacks that would deprive them of intended gifts
  • Issues concerning the validity of donative transfers, including due execution, testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, mistake, drafting attorney's conflicts of interests, prohibited transfers under Probate Code §21350 and forgery

Representative Clients

We have successfully litigated cases through trial and at the appellate level for:

  • Professional and lay fiduciaries, including trustees, executors, agents under durable powers of attorney and conservators
  • Foundations and Charitable Organizations
  • Managing members, general partners and corporate officers of family owned and/or controlled LLCs, Family Limited Partnerships and Corporations
  • Individual beneficiaries
  • Entities and persons with large claims against trust or probate estates


Key Contacts

Dan Spector
Daniel Spector
San Francisco, CA
Sacramento, CA

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