Practice Subgroup

Trust administration and litigation

Most people put in place a revocable living trust as part of their estate plan. This document is the anchor of a comprehensive estate plan that commences during life, can cover disability, and concludes at some point in time after the grantor's death. Chuhak & Tecson provides counsel to the grantor and/or trustee of the trust. This is commonly referred to as Trust Administration. Upon the grantor's death, a trustee is confronted with a myriad of issues - collection of assets, payment of taxes and debts, and succession of business interests - all of which require professional representation. The attorneys in the Estate & Trust Administration & Litigation Department at Chuhak & Tecson provide exceptional representation in these types of matters.

A major benefit of a revocable living trust can be the avoidance of having to go through the formal process in the probate court system (with all its rules and procedures) upon the grantor's death. Chuhak & Tecson's team of professionals employs its experience to guide the trustee on what to do when the courts are not involved. Our attorneys provide guidance on the payment of expenses and taxes, including when to contest such expenses. Our attorneys include CPA's who can assist you with the preparation of trust and estate tax returns, with a focus on minimizing tax liability.

Simultaneously with the payment of expenses, a trustee has the responsibility of collecting and administering the trust assets. This may include among other things, vehicle title transfer, business succession, collection and distribution of bonds, bank account transfers and real estate conveyances. We help prepare the forms, deeds and documents to effectuate collections and distributions. Sometimes a trust calls for a simple one-time complete distribution to the beneficiaries. Other times, often the assets are instead held "in trust" for the benefit of a spouse (marital trust) or for the benefit of a spouse and children (family trust). We use our legal experience and knowledge to assist and guide the trustee in the trust administration process. Our attorneys provide sophisticated legal advice to the trustee regarding discretionary distributions and guide the trustee to ensure they are acting in a prudent manner. We will assist you in the preparation, review and/or presentation of trust accountings. In addition, we have extensive involvement in the administration of charitable trusts, including family foundations. Ultimately, our team is right there beside the trustee during all aspects of trust administration.

Unfortunately, the mere creation of a trust does not preclude litigation. Just as with a will, disgruntled heirs or beneficiaries often have the right to challenge the trust document - otherwise known as a trust contest. Whether the cause of action is for lack of capacity in the creation of the trust, undue influence, fraud, duress, tortious interference with inheritance expectancy or otherwise, we have championed and defended such actions. Stemming from our years as counsel for the Cook County Public Administrator, we have been involved in almost every type of lawsuit. Our team has a wealth of experience to draw upon to benefit our clients in these contested situations. We also represent personal and corporate fiduciaries involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duties. Finally, we have extensive experience in trust interpretation and trust construction lawsuits.

From the creation of a client's first trust to maintaining that special legacy for children, grandchildren or a charity, our team of legal advisers at Chuhak & Tecson is right there beside you each step of the way.