Probate Litigation

McLane Middleton has substantial experience and expertise handling all types of contested probate disputes, including:

  • Will and trust contests – wills and trusts can be challenged on a variety of grounds, including most commonly that they were signed without testamentary capacity and/or under undue influence.
  • Guardianships and conservatorships – when a loved one due to dementia or other impairment is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, the Probate Court upon a proper showing may appoint a fiduciary to step in.
  • Fiduciary duty claims – trustees, executors, guardians, and other fiduciaries are subject to the highest duties in law, namely duties of utmost care and loyalty, and and may be held accountable for breaches of their duties.
  • Statutory accounting claims against NH power of attorney agents – agents under powers of attorney in NH are subject to statutory accounting and other claims.
  • Fiduciary accounting and removal actions – trustees, executors, guardians, and other fiduciaries are subject to claims to account and potentially for removal.
  • Trust interpretation, modification, and termination claims – trusts are not always clear and sometimes no longer serve their intended purposes and may be subject to proceedings to clarify their meaning, declare rights of the interested parties, and/or to modify or terminate them.
  • Common law marriage claims – a life partner of a decedent in appropriate circumstances may claim to have been the common law spouse in order to recover inheritance rights as the surviving spouse.
  • Elder exploitation issues and constructive trust claims – property transfers, the re-titling of investment and bank accounts, IRA and life insurance beneficiary designations, and other transactions can be challenged if they were undertaken without capacity and/or were procured by undue influence.
  • Partition actions – when family members own real estate in common and cannot agree to the terms for its use, the sharing of maintenance, taxes, and other expenses, or other issues, the courts have the authority to compel a sale and to allocate the proceeds among the owners.

Through, we provide guidance and commentary to the bar and public on important and developing probate litigation news and case law.

When assets of an aging family member are being depleted due to impaired judgment or exploitation, we can provide quick and efficient representation to help address the issue.

We understand the complex mental health issues related to aging. We have working relationships with geriatric psychiatrists and other medical and mental health professionals. We are sensitive to family dynamics and the unique pressures faced by families working hard to protect aging family members and their assets.

Our team includes: Ralph HolmesAdam Hamel, Christopher R. PaulAlexandra S. Cote, Caitlin G. McCurdy and A.J. Schweitzer.

Recent Articles:

Signifcant Verdicts and Appeals:

  • $3.4 million verdict in Trimble v. Bolduc, a fiduciary duty case against trustee and related entities
  • $2.8 million verdict in Whittemore v. Hersey, a fiduciary duty case against trustee and attorney-in-fact
  • $6 million verdict in Loconti v. Loconti (in concert with counsel representing other another claimant) to compel settlor’s contractual obligation to fund trust for benefit of claimants
  • Successfully defended fiduciary duty claims against Trustee relative to management and sale of manufactured housing park in Tay v. Grondin
  • Successfully challenged will and trust due to incapacity and undue influence in In re Estate of Frederick W. Whittemore (affirmed on appeal)
  • Successfully obtained contested trust reformation against plain meaning in Preuninger v. Youschak
  • Successfully defended fiduciary duty claims against attorney-in-fact in Therrien v. Therrien
  • Successfully defended trustee removal action in In re Trust of Gordon F. York
  • Successfully defended challenge to will on capacity and undue influence grounds in Betjemann v. Betjemann
  • Successfully defended challenge to trust validity due to alleged lack of settlor consent and other grounds Belisle v. Belisle
  • Successfully defended claim to apply pretermitted heir rights to trusts, In re Teresa Craig Living Trust (N.H. Supreme Court, 9/7/2018)
  • Successfully enforced pre-nuptial agreement in In re Hollett Estate, reversed on appeal, 150 N.H. 39, 834 A.2d 348 (2003)
  • Successfully defended spendthrift trust on appeal in Scheffel v. Krueger, 146 N.H. 669, 782 A.2d 410 (2001)

Integrity and trust

At McLane Middleton we establish and maintain long-standing relationships with our clients to help us better achieve their unique goals over time. This approach to building trust requires that our esteemed lawyers and professionals use their broad, in-depth knowledge and work together with integrity to ascertain sound resolutions to legal matters for their clients.

Strength in numbers

McLane Middleton is made up of more than 105 attorneys who represent a broad range of clients throughout the region, delivering customized solutions. As a firm we are recognized as having the highest legal ability rating. The firm is rated Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized as one of the nation's leading law firms in Chambers USA. Our attorneys are distinguished leaders in their respective practice areas.

Meet Our People

Commitment and collaboration

McLane Middleton's versatile group of attorneys and paralegals become trusted authorities on each case through collaboration. We work with our clients to learn their individual needs first and foremost and, together, we develop comprehensive solutions to their specific legal matters. This approach helps us exceed our clients' expectations efficiently and effectively, client by client, case by case.

Practice Areas

A history of excellence

McLane Middleton was established in 1919 in New Hampshire, and has five offices across two states. However, deep historical roots don't allow you to become innate. Our firm is organized, technological, and knowledgeable. Our history means we are recognized. But our reputation is built on the highest quality of service and experience in very specific areas of law.

The Firm

Intelligence paired with action

Our team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance their professional development and put key learnings to action. The pursuit of further insight guides us to volunteer service opportunities, speaking engagements, and teaching roles. Our lawyers are sought after thought leaders across their industries, and recipients of leadership awards throughout the region.