Trust and Estate Litigation

Venable's trial lawyers never lose sight of the fact that our job is to help our clients prevail. In case after case, we use our knowledge of law and the courts, meticulous preparation, efficient case management, and powerful, persuasive arguments to resolve litigation in our clients' favor.

Venable’s Trust and Estate Litigation attorneys understand that trust and estate matters are personal and that losing a relative or loved one can be difficult and complicated. We recognize the emotional toll that disputes can take on individuals, and we counsel clients through every step of the process.

Our Trust and Estate litigators are experienced trial attorneys who represent clients in some of the most complex and high-profile disputes involving trusts, estates, and conservatorships. We represent clients in claims against fiduciaries, will and trust contests, guardianship disputes, and charitable and exempt organization controversies. We have experience in the probate courts and extensive knowledge of the complex law and unique procedures related to probate and trust disputes.

Most law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to attorneys who are estate planners with limited or no experience handling litigation in the probate courts. Others rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates. Venable is unique because we offer seasoned trial attorneys with years of experience in the probate courts and comprehensive knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes.

Venable attorneys combine in-depth understanding of trust and estate law with decades of experience in high-stakes litigation, much of which is unique to trust and estate disputes. Moreover, we draw upon the depth of substantive knowledge within Venable to advise on special aspects of a given dispute. Probate issues frequently intersect with other legal issues and disciplines such as tax, real estate, corporate/securities, and insurance. When that happens, our litigators can draw on the resources of other Venable lawyers, who have deep subject matter knowledge in those fields, and bring them to bear to provide our clients with the best representation possible.

Our experience includes litigating trusts and probated disputes involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty, claims for breach of duty of loyalty, investment claims, beneficiary disputes, contested heirship, pretermitted and adopted heirs, charitable pledge disputes, disputed creditor claims, judicial construction and modification of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, will and trust validity, capacity, undue influence, elder abuse, contested powers of attorney, contested accountings, fraudulent transfers, partition actions, spousal right of election, wrongful death recovery, family and estate management disputes, conservatorships, and guardianships, among other issues.

Our clients include, among others, individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries, such as high-net-worth individuals and their families; corporate fiduciaries, such as bank and trust companies; large financial institutions; executors; trustees; administrators; and charitable beneficiaries. Many of our individual clients are well-known entrepreneurs, business owners, and entertainment talent, and we value the trust they place in us to protect their personal and financial affairs from public scrutiny.

We offer clients an integrated approach that utilizes the benefits and resources of a full-service national firm.

What to Expect When You Work with Venable

  • Insight that cuts to the heart of the matter sooner than you’re used to—from a team with the business and legal skills and experience you need to prevail
  • Creative problem-solving that results in aggressive litigation tactics and trial strategies without ever losing sight of the big picture
  • Practical problem-solving driven by your needs and what you want to achieve. Litigation is a means to an end, and we approach every problem by considering what will serve your goals and realities and then tailoring the litigation strategy to them
  • Straight talk that helps you navigate the needless complexity of the processes you face
  • Unrelenting pressure on the other side and on the court to resolve the case in your favor
  • Efficient work habits and case management that deliver business solutions through litigation

Government Experience

Nearly 200 trial attorneys, including attorneys who formerly served as:

  • Government prosecutors
  • U.S. Attorney General


  • U.S. News–Best Lawyers
    • Best Law Firms, Trusts & Estates (Tier 1), National, 2011 – 2020, 2022 - 2023
    • Best Law Firms, Trusts & Estates (Tier 1), Baltimore, 2011 – 2020, 2022 - 2023
    • Best Law Firms, Trusts & Estates (Tier 1), Washington, DC, 2011 – 2020, 2022 - 2023