Overview

The Hartnett Law Firm is a Dallas probate and trust litigation firm with a statewide practice. Our practice generally includes complex trust and estate litigation, heirship issues including common law marriage determinations, guardianship matters, and most issues that arise in the probate courts.  From time to time, we also are involved in complex general litigation involving a variety of other issues, such as partnership and close corporation disputes.

Probate cases are typically filed in the county where the decedent, settlor (maker of the trust), or proposed ward (person the guardianship is about) resides. While our firm is located in Dallas, we handle cases all over Texas and practice in all of the courts in Texas.

It is important to distinguish estate planning from the litigation aspect of probate law. Estate planning refers to the actual drafting of documents such as a will, trust, power of attorney, etc. Our firm does not handle the estate planning aspect. Instead our practice involves the following:

Estate Litigation Estate litigation includes matters such as will contests, will construction, removal of an executor or administrator, and heirship issues. These disputes occur after a person has passed away.
Trust Litigation Trust litigation can occur before or after a Settlor passes away. Types of cases include: trust contests, trust terminations, breach of fiduciary duty, and removal of trustees.
Guardianship Guardianships most often involve minors, with or without disabilities, and adults who have become incapacitated for one reason or another. Guardianships can provide assurance to family members that their child, spouse, or parent will be taken care of. Guardianships can become contested when a proposed ward disputes the need for a guardianship or there is a dispute over who should serve as guardian.

Many of our cases will also cross paths with mediation. Mediation has had an increasingly larger role in the Firm’s practice. Today, roughly 90% of cases settle in mediation before ever reaching trial. Our attorneys do not often serve as mediators, but they regularly partake in mediations through their cases.

Probate and trust law can be a complicated field. With family at the heart of many probate disputes, these matters are deeply personal and should be handled with great care. Our firm has represented parties on all sides of the spectrum. We have represented those contesting a will and have defended wills, we have represented fiduciaries and those seeking to remove them or recover damages. Being involved in so many different types of cases and handling both sides of the story allows us more effectively to represent our clients as we can paint a broader picture and manage expectations throughout the process.