Practice Groups

Trust and Estates Litigation

For 25 years, we have been helping families, individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations handle conflicts over trusts, wills, and estates. We have represented clients in matters ranging from simple disputes involving a will, trust, or estate, to some of Minnesota’s most high-profile trust and estate cases. Our extensive experience enables us to navigate the law as well as the complex personal and emotional dynamics that can make these cases especially difficult.

In every case, we put our significant experience to work for our clients — from helping beneficiaries remove a trustee, to handling suits challenging the validity of a trust or will, to managing the most complex litigation. Some of our recent successes include defending a major trust company accused of violating its fiduciary duties, helping a beneficiary of a family estate obtain proper management for that estate, and handling a billion-dollar trust mismanagement claim spanning three states.

Representative Cases

Representing an iconic singer-songwriter and former advisor, who also acted as an advisor to the special administrator of the singer-songwriter’s estate, in connection with a dispute over music rights. In re: Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson, No. 10-PR-16-46 (Carver Cty. Minn.).

Defended a large bank in its capacity as a corporate trustee against claims of breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, and a claim for surcharge in a 10-week bench trial, resulting in a favorable outcome for our client. In re: Galloway Family Trusts, No. C1-04-200006 (Ramsey Cty. Minn. 2007).

Represented estate beneficiaries in a claim for undue influence in soliciting a new will that created a multi-million dollar foundation. In re: Estate of James H. Binger, No. 27-PA-PR-05-279 (Hennepin Cty. Minn. 2005).

Represented a trust company, obtaining summary judgment in a claim by a beneficiary alleging breach of duty with respect to trust distributions. The case set standards in Minnesota for determining trustee abuse of discretion. In re: Trs. A & B Created Under the Last Will & Testament of Divine, 672 N.W.2d 912 (Minn. App. 2004).

Represented the Williams family, the family that started the Creamette Pasta Company, in a surcharge claim against a trust company, which resulted in a multi-million judgment in favor of the family’s trust as a result of the corporate trustee’s failure to diversify trust assets. In re: Will of Williams, 631 N.W.2d 398 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001).

Defended a trust company in a billion-dollar claim that involved litigation in Minnesota, Oregon, and California, involving allegations of mismanagement of timberland held in trust, resulting in a 40-day trial and a successful outcome for our client. In re: Hill Trust, 499 N.W.2d 475 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993).

Represented trust beneficiaries to determine the rights of adopted children and grandchildren. Toombs v. Daniels, 361 N.W.2d 801 (Minn. 1985).