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Samantha Weissbluth

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Samantha Weissbluth

Sam is one of Chicago’s premier estate and trust litigation attorneys with more than 20 years of problem-solving experience in helping clients resolve sensitive family disputes and complex matters.  Sam is widely cited as an authority on estate and trust litigation, and she co-authored the original IICLE treatise on this subject, a practical guide for Illinois attorneys.

Sam begins each new representation by listening carefully to ensure a clear understanding of her client’s goals.  Always striving to find the most swift and equitable solution, Sam protects the rights of individual beneficiaries and advises individual and corporate fiduciaries as they carry out their critical obligations.

Sam’s practice encompasses all aspects of estate, trust and fiduciary controversies, including:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Judicial constructions of wills and trusts
  • Will and trust contests
  • Citations to discover or recover assets
  • Contested heirship, adoption and paternity
  • Charitable pledge disputes
  • Guardianship matters
  • Risk management for fiduciaries in contentious estate and trust administrations
  • Appeals

Sam is highly skilled at resolving difficult family disputes, both in and out of court.  She recognizes that litigation is not the answer to every controversy, and Sam excels at de-escalating disputes, finding creative, non-judicial solutions for her clients. If litigation is necessary or ongoing, however, Sam is a zealous advocate with years of experience in both state and federal courts.

Representative Matters

  • Sam successfully prevailed in a bench trial in defending a client against her ex-husband’s effort to enforce a 15-year-old promissory note.
  • In representing a charity against a decedent’s off-shore asset protection trust, Sam was an essential member of the litigation team which achieved a victory in the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Sam successfully settled a tortious interference with inheritance claim brought by three sisters against a fourth sister – alleging mistreatment and undue influence exerted upon their elderly and infirm mother. The turning point occurred when the defendant admitted to accelerating her mother’s death resulting in an amended complaint pursuant to Illinois’ “Slayer Statute.”
  • In a hotly contested case involving heirship, paternity and DNA testing, Sam successfully defended an action on behalf of a decedent’s brother
  • In a highly-publicized case brought by the Illinois Attorney General against an investment company seeking treble and punitive damages for an alleged violation of the Charitable Trust Act, Sam briefed an ultimately successful motion which led to the dismissal of her client as a party defendant because it did not qualify as a charitable “trustee” under the Act.
  • Sam was one of three lead attorneys in complex trust litigation in Pennsylvania involving the appointment of a successor corporate trustee and the establishment of a private trust company to be that potential successor trustee. Sam was also involved in the multiple appeals resulting from this litigation.
  • In representing several charitable beneficiaries seeking early termination of a charitable trust, Sam briefed the petition and secured the Illinois Attorney General’s support for trust termination. The court ultimately granted the petition and terminated the trust.
  • Sam successfully defended her regional bank client against multiple allegations of breach of fiduciary duty
  • In acting as risk management counsel to an international financial services company headquartered in Chicago, Sam fended off multiple threats of litigation during the estate and trust administration process, succeeding in completing that process with no lawsuits filed against Sam’s client.
  • Sam has also obtained numerous favorable decisions reforming or construing wills and trusts

 

When not supporting her clients, Sam loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband, five children, and their German Shepherd, Zoe.

Education

  • Northwestern University School Of Law, J.D.
  • Northwestern University, B.A. Political Science and International Relations

Organizations

  • Chicago Estate Planning Council
  • Young Professional Advisory Committee of the Chicago Community Trust
  • Chicago Bar Association (Probate Practice Committee)
  • Illinois State Bar Association

Admissions

  • State of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Awards & Honors

Speeches & Publications

  • “Will & Trust Contests”, published in the handbook entitled Causes of Action, published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), 2011
  • “Heirship, Adoption & Paternity”, IICLE Webinar, 2010
  • “Will & Trust Contests”, IICLE, 2010
  • “Risk Management for Trustees: Becoming Ill-Suited for Litigation”, ALI-ABA Risk Management for Trustees conference, 2010
  • “The Updated Risk Management Primer,” ALI-ABA Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries conference, 2009
  • Co-author, “Heirship, Adoption and Paternity”, published in the handbook entitled, Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Charitable Bequests, IICLE (originally published in 2009)
  • Co-author, “Trust Contests”, published in the handbook entitled, Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Charitable Bequests, IICLE (originally published in 2009)
  • Co-author, “Will Contests”, published in the handbook entitled, Litigating Disputed Estates, Trusts, Guardianships, and Charitable Bequests, IICLE (originally published in 2009)
  • Co-author, “Trust Litigation”, published in the handbook entitled, Trust Administration, IICLE (originally published in 2008)
  • Co-author, “Termination of the Trust”, published in the handbook entitled, Trust Administration, IICLE (originally published in 2008
  • Monthly co-columnist for Trusts & Estates Magazine e-newsletter, 2004-2013. Articles included:

    • “Fallible Fiduciaries” (June 1, 2004)

    • “Settlors’ Advsory” (June 15, 2006)

    • “Don’t Play a Game of Hearsay Russian Roulette” (July 13, 2006)

    • “Attorneys’ Fees” (January 11, 2007)

    • “Beware the Powers of Attorney” (March i, 2007)

    • “Who’s in Charge?” (April 26, 2007)

    • “The Do-It-Yourself Spirit in Big Sky Country” (May 30, 2007)

    • “Three Hots and a Cot” (June 27, 2007)

    • “Sunshine State Welcomes Deadbeats” (July 25, 2007)

    • “Negative Energy Haunts the House of Ken Lay” (August 29, 2007)

    • “Corporate Trustees Beware” (February 10, 2008)

    • “Barred by Lunatics Law” (August 21, 2008)

    • “Stung by the Slayer Statute” (November 19, 2008)

    • “Court Leaves Florida Elderly Vulnerable” (January 24, 2009)

    • “Philanthropy or Spite?” (July 28, 2009)

    • “Protect Trust Assets in Bankruptcy” (September 23, 2009)

    • “Posthumously Conceived Children and Their Survivor Benefit” (October 21, 2009)

    • “Wrestling with the Privacy Rights of John E. DuPont, Convicted Murderer” (January 27, 2010)

    • “A Pitch for Privacy Rights” (February 18, 2010)

    • “Marrying for the Money: A New Twist?” (April 20, 2010)

    • “Filing Follies” (October 27, 2010)

    • “Expanding Breaches” (January 19, 2011)

    • “Kiss-immee of Death” (April 20, 2011) (this article was the basis for a quote in a June, 2011 article by Kelly Greene in The Wall Street Journal entitled, “Unholy Marriage: How to Fight Back”)

    • “The Walls have e-Ears” (May 17, 2011)

    • “Trustees and the Attorney-Client Privilege” (August 24, 2011)

    • “Assessing Older Clients’ Capacity” (September 21, 2011)

    • “Keeping Trusts Out of Court” (October 19, 2011)

    • “The Estate Tax and Wrongful Death” (November 5, 2012)

    • ”Father’s Will Dictates Sham Marriage” (December 21, 2012)

    • “Seeds of Controversy” (January 28, 2013)

    • “A Reckless Act?” (February 26, 2013)

    • “Stripping Away the Mysteries of the Probate Exception” (April 23, 2013)

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Please be advised that any response to this email does not create an attorney-client relationship and, therefore, no attorney-client privilege is attached by this communication. You should not send any confidential information to the firm until you have received a written agreement from the firm to perform legal services on your behalf. Unless you have received such a written agreement, we will not consider any correspondence you send us as confidential. Do you agree with these terms?
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