When questions or concerns arise regarding an estate plan or during the course of administration, we are frequently asked to help resolve such disputes. We ordinarily try to resolve disputes informally through negotiation and mediation, particularly where family relationships are at issue. In our experience, working collaboratively toward a mutually agreeable resolution is more cost-effective for all parties and can help remedy fractured family relationships.
However, not all disputes can be resolved amicably. In those cases where court intervention is necessary, we are prepared to file and argue appropriate petitions or objections with the Probate Court and, in conjunction with members of our litigation department, conduct appropriate discovery and present evidence in contested cases.
What We Do
- Litigate Contested Cases to Determine the Validity of a Will or Trust
- Petition for Instructions to Determine the Meaning of an Unclear Document
- Represent Trustees or Beneficiaries in Connection with Trust Accountings
- Represent Trustees or Beneficiaries in Connection with Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
Our attorneys have years of experience practicing before the Probate Courts in all circuits of Hawai‘i and appear before the Probate Courts regularly. This experience helps us to provide insights into how the Probate Court might rule on a particular fact pattern and develop a cost-effective strategy to either resolve the case or advocate our client’s position on the disputed matter before the Probate Court.
Below are representative appellate cases argued by our attorneys:
- In re Elizabeth J. K. L. Lucas Charitable Gift, 125 Hawai‘i 351 (2011) (clarifying cy pres doctrine in Hawai‘i).
- In re Robinson Trust, 110 Hawai‘i 181 (2006) (trust interpretation case).
- In re Medeiros Testamentary Trust & Life Insurance Trust, 105 Hawai‘i 284 (2004) (trust interpretation case).
- In re Estate of Ferdinand Marcos, 88 Hawai‘i 148 (1998) (finding no Hawai‘i domicile in probate proceeding).
- In re Elaine Emma Short Revocable Living Trust, 147 Hawai‘i 456 (2020) (trust interpretation case).