Continuing Legal Education

TELESEMINAR: Family Feuds in Trusts – A National Perspective

June 3, 2014
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1.00 MCLE hours


Feuds are endemic to trusts, which are often a volatile combination of family emotions, rivalries and resentments – and money. Disputes about the amount or timing distributions, control, investment priorities, or a perceived lack of communication can easily escalate into open dispute and costly litigation. Added to the complexity of these financial and administrative issues is the reality of new spouses, children from multiple marriages, and subtle but real feelings of unfair treatment. This program will provide you with a practitioner’s guide to identifying red flags in families before it’s too late to resolve them, counseling clients about methods to reduce the risk of dispute and litigation, special issues involving family businesses, drafting techniques and tips on working with warring family factions.


  • Family feuds in trusts – sources of litigation and practical drafting and counseling techniques to reduce the risk of dispute and litigation
  • Unequal distributions, control of family businesses, new spouses, children from different marriages, specific gifts
  • Specific solutions for each problem – incentives in trusts, addressing inequality, “HEMs” standards, and more
  • Trustee issues – family v. institutional representation and communications
  • Special issues when a family business is held in a trust
  • Use of Buy-Sell agreements to avoid disputes
  • Practical tips on working with warring family factions and protecting yourself


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Program Speakers:
Robert W. Benjamin,
Wiggin and Dana, LLP,  New York
Blanche Lark Christerson, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, New York


Robert W. Benjamin is a partner in the New York office Wiggin and Dana, LLP, where he has counseled foreign and domestic clients in all matters relating to estate planning, probate and the taxation and administration of trusts and estates.  He also counsels tax-exempt organizations and members of charitable boards.  Mr. Benjamin has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Pace University and has written extensively on estate and trust topics.  He served as member of the Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate's Courts of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he drafted numerous reports on proposed legislation affecting New York Surrogate's Court practice.  Mr. Benjamin received his A.B., with honors, from Vassar College and his J.D. form Fordham University of Law.

Blanche Lark Christerson is a managing director at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management in New York City, where she works with clients and their advisors to help develop estate, gift, tax, and wealth transfer planning strategies.  Earlier in her career she was a vice president in the estate planning department of U.S. Trust Company.  She also practiced law with Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City.  Ms. Christerson is the author of the monthly newsletter “Tax Topics."  She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, her J.D. from New York Law School and her LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law.