Trust & Estates Litigation

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Lindquist & Vennum’s Trust & Estates Litigation attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of the law and unique procedures applicable to trust and probate disputes. We understand the financial considerations at stake in each of these disputes, and that it is important to work through the difficult emotional and familial issues that may be involved.

We have a track record of success in major disputes that makes us the firm of choice for fiduciaries and beneficiaries facing significant litigation in the Midwest and elsewhere, due in part to the credibility we bring to court. Unlike other firms’ trust and estates practices, we not only draft the documents creating or modifying sophisticated trusts, but we are also frequently called on to resolve disputes regarding trusts and wills created by other firms. Additionally, we spend considerable time in front of the bench and excel in trial. This experience and expertise enables us to not only obtain favorable results in court, but also to build the consensus among adverse parties necessary to resolve trust disputes through settlement.

Our firm has distinguished trust and estate litigators in Minneapolis, Sioux Falls and Denver. Many of our clients have significant wealth generated by high-profile business owners, entrepreneurs, professional athletes, industry leaders, and multi-billion dollar legacies. Whether we are working with the trustee on the fiduciary duties of the trust, or representing the beneficiaries on preserving their interests, we employ a thoughtful approach to serve them, including:

  • Counseling trustees or beneficiaries to keep them out of court.
  • Obtaining court orders that provide protection and help our clients avoid lawsuits.
  • Representing fiduciaries or beneficiaries in litigation or arbitration when disputes cannot be avoided.

Our extensive experience also encompasses third party claims where we have handled disputes that have risen through the IRS, state department of revenue or other contract-holder inquiries.

  • Represented co-trustee of a family business empire held almost entirely in a network of trusts in a highly publicized and contentious disagreement within the family, resulting in restructuring multi-billions of dollars of operating business assets held in trust.
  • Represented a prominent real estate developer and business owner in contested, complex estate proceedings involving creditors’ claims in the multi-millions, spousal elective share issue, contractual claims and homestead rights.
  • At the request of a high net worth entrepreneur who has now passed, we serve as a trustee for one of the beneficiaries for this multi-million dollar estate. The estate is now embattled in extraordinarily complex litigation, and we represent the child in the trusts for which he is a trustee.
  • Successfully represented individual trustees in highly contentious case raising breach of fiduciary duty challenging fiduciary accounting after navigating comprehensive discovery process, multiple hearings and resulting in settlement prior to trial.
  • Lead counsel for corporate trustee of South Dakota dynasty trust through multi-jurisdictional dispute involving federal courts and state court, securing approval of fiduciary fees, preservation of South Dakota situs, and no liability for corporate trustee caught in middle of familial dispute.
  • Successful representation of corporate fiduciaries in multiple cases against breach of fiduciary duty claims resulting in dismissal of claims, allowance of accounts, and affirmance of prior administration..
  • Achieved favorable result and resolution for trust company in litigation involving claims of first impression under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.
  • Successfully defended financial services institution as conservator against claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty in multi-million dollar conservatorship. After extensive discovery and hearings, the end result included resolution of all claims with no payment by institution.
  • Successful representation of charitable beneficiary in multiple cases, including favorable orders to receive monies from disputed charitable pledge, to obtain inventories and accountings from trustees, and to remove trustees who failed to fulfill fiduciary duties owed.
  • Obtained favorable court orders in contested proceedings allowing conservators to pursue civil actions seeking to recover millions for the benefit of the wards and their estates.
  • Represented guardian in receiving ruling from MN Supreme Court that, under Minn. Stat. § 524.5-313(c)(4)(i), a guardian who is granted power over medical decisions for a ward is also authorized to make end-of-life decisions for the ward as long as all interested parties agree to the guardian’s choice of action.


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