Anthony Ostlund’s client, the trustee of an irrevocable trust, was sued by beneficiaries alleging that he breached fiduciary duties causing more than $42 million in damages. In addition to millions of dollars, the plaintiffs sought control of family businesses that were valued at more than $300 million.
Anthony Ostlund Approach
This case involved a complicated and complex estate plan. The decedent’s estate included a pour-over will, a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust, and a complicated transaction involving a charitable lead annuity trust. In the face of that complexity, Anthony Ostlund attorneys knew that to win, they had to present the facts in a way that would be clear and understandable. We argued that the Court should focus on what the decedent intended, which was confirmed by the decedent’s own actions, the language of the estate plan, and the testimony of multiple witnesses. With each trial witness, we focused on the evidence showing that the decedent had specific goals, formed a plan for achieving those goals, and that Anthony Ostlund’s client, the trustee, had acted to implement those goals in a way that was consistent with the estate plan.
Following a 20-day trial, the judge ruled that Anthony Ostlund’s client “did not breach any fiduciary duties” and “acted at all times in good faith.” The judge dismissed the claims in their entirety. Joe Anthony and Dan Hall were named 2020 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer for their work on the case.