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Trust and Estate Litigation

Dean Mead’s Trust and Estate Litigation Practice Group represents plaintiffs, defendants and non-parties in all kinds of controversies involving wills, trusts and estates.  Some are will and trust contests, where a final will or trust is challenged on the grounds that the decedent lacked mental capacity or was unduly influenced.  Others are claims for breach of fiduciary duty, or demands for reformation of wills and trusts.  Our team handles almost any kind of dispute involving personal representatives, trustees, beneficiaries, heirs, conservators, guardians, and trust companies.

Our Services

  • Will Contests – We represent beneficiaries who wish to challenge the validity of a will, as well as personal representatives who have a fiduciary duty and obligation to defend the will. This includes wills that are challenged due to undue influence, mental incapacity, inadequate formalities, fraud, mistake or other grounds.
  • Trust Contests – Our Group represents beneficiaries who wish to challenge the validity of a trust, as well as trustees who have a fiduciary duty and obligation to defend the trust.  The same issues in will contests generally apply to trust contests.
  • Trust and Will Construction – When necessary, our Group reviews wills and trust instruments to interpret ambiguous or conflicting language in a way that is most favorable to our client.
  • Trust Reformation – We prepare reformation documentation and represent a trustee’s interests in court and before the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Accounting Actions – Our Group assists beneficiaries with petitioning the court for accountings, and we also prepare accountings for those who are required to submit them.
  • Fiduciary Misconduct – We defend fiduciaries against whom claims are made and prosecute such claims on behalf of beneficiaries and estate creditors.
  • Fiduciary Removal – Our Group represents beneficiaries wishing to remove a fiduciary and fiduciaries who are defending against a removal action.
  • Surcharge Actions – We represent beneficiaries bringing surcharge claims against fiduciaries, as well as fiduciaries defending against surcharge claims.
  • Probate and Trust Appeals – When a client elects to challenge an adverse probate decision, our Group will file an appeal of the trial court decisions on behalf of our client.
  • Tax Appeals – We represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service and Florida Department of Revenue during audits and obtain judicial adjudications of disputes with these taxing authorities.
  • Guardianships – Our Group provides representation in connection with an action to appoint a guardian for minors as well as persons who are mentally or physically incapacitated.  This includes representing the proposed guardian, the person who is alleged to be incapacitated or another interested person who may wish to challenge the proceeding.

Estate Planning Seminar Video

Dean Mead’s Estate & Succession Planning department kicked-off the 2013 Estate Planning Seminar Series with a timely presentation on March 13 in front of nearly 90 attendees at the Orange County Bar Association in Orlando. The presentation featured Dean Mead attorneys, Lauren Detzel, Matt Ahearn, David Akins and Brian Malec.

The program was titled: “Estate Planning After the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012”. They discussed the significant impact of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on estate planning for 2013 and beyond, including the importance of income tax and portability planning. This included their perspective about the possibility for future tax legislation affecting estate planning that may be on the horizon.

We have also provided the attached outline from the presentation.

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