Expert Witness

As an Expert Witness in estate and trust litigation, Steve uses the breadth and depth of his experience to shed light on the often confusing and overwhelming duties and obligations of a fiduciary.  Here is a list of topics which Steve is available to address:

  • Standards of care for the administration of estates and trusts by individual and corporate fiduciaries
  • Standards of care for the management of specific types of assets owned by estates and trusts
  • Standard for fiduciary duty by individual and corporate fiduciaries to beneficiary(ies)
  • Standards for care under the Uniform Prudent Investor Act
  • Standards of trust and estate accounting under the Uniform Principal and Income Act
  • Policy standards for discretionary distributions of income or principal to beneficiaries
  • Federal estate tax elections and return preparation
  • Federal fiduciary income tax return preparation
  • Accounting and taxation of conduit entities (partnerships, LLCs, and sub-S corporations) by irrevocable trusts
  • Compensatory and opportunity lost determinations
  • Fiduciary conflicts of interest (duty of loyalty)
  • Bank trust department trust and estate administrative policies
  • Suitability of estate and/or trust plan design and implementation

Context of services:

  • Pre-litigation case evaluation
  • Litigation consulting support after petition has been filed (discovery, pre-trial preparation, depositions, interrogatories, advice during trial)
  • Expert witness at trial

To date, Steve has served as an Expert Witness in both state and federal court in the following cases:

  • For Trust Income Beneficiary in Idaho state court case against the Trustee of a testamentary trust, where Trustee mismanaged Trust assets under Uniform Prudent Investor Act.  Expert report and attorney contact information are available upon request.
  • For successor Trustee in federal court case against initial bank Trustee of an ILIT, involving premium-financed life insurance products.  Expert reports filed with the Court are available upon request. Deposition transcript and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For Trust Income Beneficiary in Idaho state court case against the Personal Representative and testamentary Trustee, where Trustee was involved in self-dealing and withholding income from beneficiary.  Expert report available upon request. Trial testimony transcript and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For successor Trustee in Florida state court case against initial Trustee (a CPA and RIA), where initial Trustee mismanaged investments under the Prudent Investor Rule, resulting in favorable settlement prior to trial.  Redacted mediation support memorandum and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For national bank defendant in Illinois state court case, where individual fiduciaries mismanaged cash resources of multiple family trusts.  Expert report available upon request.
  • For estate heir plaintiff in Idaho state court where personal representative sold estate real estate without relevant appraisals and failed to disclose material information to heirs of the estate. Transcript of trial testimony and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For plaintiff client in Colorado state court where financial adviser with fiduciary duties abused conflicts of interest, engaged in self-dealing, and breached his duty of loyalty and the relevant standard of care. Attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For defendant trustee in Idaho state court where trust accounting, trustee’s due diligence for real estate sale transactions, trustees’ management of income producing real estate, and trustee’s delegation of certain administrative functions were at issue. Redacted mediation support letter and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For plaintiff trust beneficiary in California state court where issues included adequate trust accounting, application of relevant prudent investor rule, trustee’s duty of loyalty and standard of care, trustee’s conflicts of interest and potential self-dealing, and trustee’s management of closely held trust assets. Expert declaration and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For defendant bank trustee in Montana state court where issues included bank co-trustee’s administration of beneficiary occupied and managed ranch. Expert opinion report and attorney contact information available upon request.
  • For plaintiff beneficiary in Illinois state court where issues included the directed bank trustee’s responsibility for timely estimated tax payments after sale of closely held business interests. Redacted memorandum and attorney contact information available upon request.

In addition, Steve has been appointed by judges to fiduciary roles in the following adversarial litigation matters:

1.   As the Personal Representative in an adversarial intestacy. As PR, liquidated the Estate and distributed net proceeds to heirs.

2.   As the successor Trustee of the terminating trust of a deceased commercial real estate developer where surviving spouse breached trust by withdrawing significant funds to the detriment of numerous creditors.  In addition to administering a trust with properties in multiple states, Steve performed the breach of trust damages calculation and the Court awarded all requested damages, as well as legal fees/costs as a result of initial trustee’s breach.

3.   As the Special Administrator for an Estate to determine the correct Inventory and Accounting, and to identify potential legal issues for the Court. Result was a mediated settlement between multiple parties.

4.   As Trustee of a court-created medical trust resulting from a personal injury litigation settlement.

5.   As successor Trustee of a testamentary trust as the result of litigation settlement of probate matter.

If you have any questions or comments about my trust and estate litigation support services, please contact me using the form provided on my Contact webpage.

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