Loeb & Loeb's Trust and Estate Litigation Group offers clients a team of lawyers widely recognized as being among the most distinguished, experienced, and successful litigators in the field of trusts, estates, and conservatorships. Many law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to lawyers who are fundamentally estate planners with limited or no experience handling a major contested matter in the probate courts. Other firms rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates. Loeb & Loeb is different from all of these firms, because we are experienced trial lawyers with many years of experience in the probate courts. Our lawyers possess in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes. For that reason, our firm is often the firm of choice in the most significant disputes involving trusts, estates, and conservatorships.
Our many accomplishments are due in part to the credibility we bring with us to court; we are known nationwide as experts in this highly specialized field. We are successful because our team is as comfortable cross-examining a witness at trial as we are arguing an arcane point of probate law in the courts of appeal, and we are just as comfortable deposing hostile witnesses as we are with understanding the importance of building consensus with conservators, court-appointed counsel, and guardians ad litem.
Our team has had enormous success in the trial courts in probate matters of all types. Our attorneys have successfully argued appeals to the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and various state Courts of Appeal. Because of our success in court, we have the credibility to obtain the most favorable settlements of disputes for our clients in mediation or even before there is litigation. We also counsel our clients about litigation avoidance and we can provide advice that only comes from years of experience in the courtroom.
Some of our most noteworthy successes for our clients include:
- Representing the Conrad Hilton Foundation as lead counsel in a lengthy trial involving a dispute over the interpretation of crucial language in the will of Mr. Hilton; the trial court award was for more than $160 million. Following appeal, the case was ultimately settled favorably to the Foundation.
- Representing J. Paul Getty in trust litigation involving the trust that held the controlling interest in Getty Oil Co. (ultimately sold to Texaco); following settlement of the case and creation of new trusts, we represented the trustees of two of the newly created Getty Trusts for many years.
- Defending the will of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, against a contest brought by one of his daughters; following the defense we succeeded in enforcing the no-contest clause of Mr. Roddenberry's will to disinherit the contestant in an amount that represents the largest known disinheritance in the history of the State of California.
- Obtaining a $113 million settlement of litigation to remove and surcharge Roy Farmer as trustee of trusts controlling Farmer Bros. Coffee Co.
- Winning summary judgment in an action to remove and surcharge the trustees of the $250+ million Mark Hughes Family Trust. The petition accused the trustees of exploiting the Trust's majority ownership in Herbalife International to enrich and entrench themselves with golden parachutes, poison pills, and other similar anti-takeover devices.
Clients and Industries
We represent corporate fiduciaries (including large financial institutions), charitable beneficiaries, and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries. Recent experience includes high-profile matters concerning the estates of:
Leadership in Law
Our group includes attorneys who are members of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Trusts and Estates Section, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Trusts and Estates Section. Our lawyers are frequently asked to lecture on trust and estate litigation and litigation avoidance by the California State Bar, CEB, the UCLA-CEB Estate Planning Institute, the USC Probate and Trust Conference, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Century City Bar Association, the Southern California Trust Officers Association, and individual banks and trust companies throughout the state.
Our team has written extensively in the area of trusts and estates including the well-known treatise, California Probate Procedure, and in the most noteworthy and important trust and estate journals and publications, including the State Bar Trusts and Estates Quarterly. A number of these articles have been cited by court decisions in the field and have influenced the creation of new legislation. Our lawyers have also drafted legislation that is now part of the California Probate Code.