Probate & Trust Administration

Our attorneys and paralegals have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle the administration of the largest and most complicated estates.  Firm principal Jim Hardin has administered an estate with business assets in excess of $100 million, located in multiple states.  He also administered the $80 million estate of a deceased South Carolina resident, which entailed establishing a blockage discount for estate tax purposes, negotiating a sale of some of the decedent's shares back to the issuing company to raise funds to pay the estate tax, and negotiating a Family Settlement Agreement.

Our attorneys are assisted by a team of highly qualified and experienced paralegals, with a combined 40 years of experience, to provide efficient trust, estate and probate administration services.

Probate and Estate Administration

We frequently represent personal representatives of a decedent's estate in connection with trust, estate and probate administration, including the preparation and filing of documents with the court; asset management, including arranging for appraisals and valuations; tax planning, including advice regarding the use of disclaimers and other post-death estate and income tax savings techniques; and preparation of any required tax returns.

Trust Administration

In addition to providing representation and assistance with post-mortem trust administration after the death of a trustor, we also provide assistance with trust administration during the lifetime of the trustor, including advising our clients regarding the use of notices to beneficiaries when a gift has been made to an irrevocable trust (which are referred to as Crummey notices after the definitive case in this area), and preparation and filing of gift tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns.

We advise our clients regarding any issue arising during the administration of a trust, including:

  • The duties, powers and standards of a trustee
  • Trustee accounting and recordkeeping
  • Investing and managing trust assets
  • Resignation or removal of a trustee
  • Modification, revocation or termination of a trust
  • Creditor's rights against the trust or beneficiaries
  • Subtrust funding
  • Trustee compensation and attorneys' fees
  • Income taxation of trusts
  • Preparation of gift, generation-skipping transfer tax and estate tax returns

Tax Controversies and Audits

We also represent clients in tax controversies, including IRS and state estate, gift, and income tax controversies.  Jim Hardin has handled many estate tax audits involving complex tax issues and significant assets, including the audit of a $150 million estate.

Trust & Estate Disputes

In the event a dispute arises during the course of the administration of an estate, litigation may be necessary.  We routinely advise clients in disputes involving a trust or estate, and are prepared to participate in the prosecution or defense of cases involving:

  • Will or trust contests
  • Allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty
  • Trust termination and modification proceedings
  • Objections to accountings
  • Lawsuits seeking to remove or substitute a trustee or executor

Firm principal Jim Hardin is also certified to mediate trust and estate disputes and litigation.

Expert Witness

Jim Hardin has served as an expert in approximately 30 matters involving trust, estate and taxation issues in depositions and at trial.  For further information on Mr. Hardin's experience as an expert witness, and to view a representative sample of the cases in which he has served as an expert, please see the Expert Witness page.

We welcome your inquiry regarding our probate and trust administration services.  Please contact us to schedule a consultation.


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