Practice Areas

Trusts, Estates & Probate

Stearns & Ryan helps you establish wills, trusts, healthcare directives, durable powers of attorney and other estate planning components that can ensure your legacy plays out as you intend.

Real estate lawyers Stearns Ryan Lawyers

The firm also litigates disputes in Trusts, Estates & Probate.

Helping You with Your Estate

Beyond death and taxes, there is a third certainty: If you do not take steps to actively protect your estate while you are alive, the government and the courts will figure out what to do with it once you’re gone. We help you take control of your legacy by counseling you on the creation of:


A trust is a separate animal from a will in that it governs how certain assets are to be handled.

Living trusts offer a way to pass assets on without subjecting your beneficiaries to probate. Assets you transfer into a revocable or irrevocable trust no longer belong to you and thus are no longer part of your estate — they will be exempt not only from probate, but from estate tax as well. In revocable trusts, you retain ownership of the assets. While alive you can change beneficiaries and trust provisions, invest trust assets to earn income to live on, and even withdraw some or all of the funds. Assets that remain upon your death will be liable for estate taxes, but your beneficiaries will still get a free pass from probate.

Testamentary trusts

Testamentary trusts are created at the direction of your will when you pass. The assets funding them come from — and count as part of — your estate and will have been subject to both probate and estate. Nevertheless, testamentary trusts can be appropriate when you wish to retain greater control over when and how assets may be used for what.

Some of the more popular trusts we provide include:

Estate & Trust Litigation

As in divorce, assets in death often become a point of family contention. Stearns & Ryan, Lawyers stand ready to assist executors and administrators in petitioning the courts to uphold the intent of the deceased. We also represent trustees and aggrieved beneficiaries in resolving estate omissions and mismanagement.

Among the types of estate-related cases we have successfully litigated before the courts are:

With a focus on personalized attention and strategic solutions, our experienced attorneys are here to support your legal journey.

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More than just a law firm – the team at Stearns & Ryan, Lawyers is a close-knit family. 

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