Practice Group | Bassford Remele

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.

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.

Represented estate beneficiaries in a claim for undue influence in soliciting a new will that created a multi-million dollar foundation.

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. Ct. 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).

Comments from clients and the legal community:

I have been working with Bassford Remele for many years, on several different matters and on both sides of the table. I appreciate the professionalism, expertise and excellent service each attorney continually provides. (Executive Vice President-Trust, Bank)

Bassford Remele is awesome! They understand complex issues and move them quickly towards resolution. (Senior Vice President, Bank)

Everyone that I have had the opportunity to work with at Bassford Remele has been extremely professional. They have been able to answer all of my questions promptly and with a thorough understanding of the issues. I have enjoyed working with all of the attorneys that I have worked with and find it very rewarding. I always come away with some additional insights and understanding.

Bassford Remele is a very professional firm.

Bassford Remele is very responsive and great to work with or reach out to for questions, even when exploring litigation.

The team is extremely helpful and professional. I have reached out to them on more than one occasion when necessary to assist me in a particular situation. (Vice President and Senior Trust Officer, Trust Company)

Casey Marshall of Bassford Remele is patient, understanding and efficient in his work.

I have worked with Bassford Remele for many years. They are the "go to" firm for trust litigation matters in this area. In addition to their expertise they are very much problem solvers in the way they work with clients and opposing counsel. (Senior Vice President, Bank and Trust Company)

It is never an easy situation when a trust matter escalates to litigation; but it is extremely helpful to have a professional firm and group of attorneys like Bassford Remele representing us. Working through all of the steps necessary to come to a positive resolution can be very demanding. They work with all of the individuals involved to discuss and understand all of the issues and nuances; prepare everyone for deposition and finally testimony in court. It is very easy to assume that you as an individual are under fire and they provide the necessary balance to work through the process. They will work to keep any potential litigation out of the courtroom and prevent any unnecessary costs associated with any type of controversy. I have found them to be a fantastic resource and sounding board for any and all types of questions. (Vice President, Bank and Trust Company)

It is difficult to compare Bassford Remele's depth of experience in their trusts & estates department with any other firm. The attorneys are incredibly knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend working with the team at Bassford.

I was involved in a very lengthy trust and estate Litigation (approximately three years long), with Bassford Remele and specifically two amazing attorneys representing us, Alan Silver and Steve Sitek. From beginning to end, choosing this law firm, most importantly the two attorneys that represented us in this extremely difficult and involved Trust and Estate Litigation, was by far not only the best legal related decision I have ever made, but also one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. From top to bottom, all the amazing individuals working at this law firm, most specifically our attorneys Alan Silver and Steve Sitek, were not only extremely good at what they do which is truly an "understatement", but Alan and Steve always genuinely cared about us as clients both professionally and on a personal level, and they put an unparalleled amount of effort into our case, as if it was there own.

Norman Abramson and Casey Marshall are my go-to resource for trust and estate litigation.

Bassford Remele is always first to mind when it comes to trusts and estates issues. The team is incredibly knowledgeable and are true advocates for clients.

Bassford is an awesome firm! They are super responsive/knowledgeable and always put their clients first.

These comments were collected as part of the U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" research process.


Metropolitan Tier 1 Firm in the area of Trust and Estates
Metropolitan and National Litigation-ERISA Firm
Chambers 2022
Alan Silver 2016 Minneapolis Trusts and Estates Litigation Lawyer of the Year