Samantha E. Weissbluth

Phone: 847-562-1400
Fax: 847-562-1422

Sam began her career in estate planning and administration and channeled that knowledge and experience into more than fifteen years as a successful estate and trust litigator. Sam’s practice encompasses all aspects of estate, trust and fiduciary litigation, including: breach of fiduciary duty issues, judicial constructions of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, citations to discover or recover assets, contested heirship, adoption and paternity issues, charitable pledge disputes, guardianship matters, estate and trust administration, risk management for fiduciaries and appeals.

Before joining Strauss & Malk LLP, Sam practiced with a prominent Chicago law firm.

Education

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

Licensed to Practice

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

Professional Activities

Past professional activities include significant pro bono work, membership on the Chicago Estate Planning Council, Young Professional Advisory Committee of the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Bar Association (Probate Practice Committee) and Illinois State Bar Association

Presentations and 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:
    1. “Fallible Fiduciaries” (June 1, 2004)
    2. “Settlors’ Advisory” (June 15, 2006)
    3. “Don’t Play a Game of Hearsay Russian Roulette” (July 13, 2006)
    4. “Attorneys’ Fees” (January 11, 2007)
    5. “Settlors’ Advisory” (June 15, 2006)
    6. “Beware the Powers of Attorney” (March 1, 2007)
    7. “Who’s in Charge?” (April 26, 2007)
    8. “The Do-It-Yourself Spirit in Big Sky Country” (May 30, 2007)
    9. “Three Hots and a Cot” (June 27, 2007)
    10. “Sunshine State Welcomes Deadbeats” (July 25, 2007)
    11. “Negative Energy Haunts the House of Ken Lay” (August 29, 2007)
    12. “Corporate Trustees Beware” (February 10, 2008)
    13. “Barred by Lunatics Law” (August 21, 2008)
    14. “Stung by the Slayer Statute” (November 19, 2008)
    15. “Court Leaves Florida Elderly Vulnerable” (January 24, 2009)
    16. “Philanthropy or Spite?” (July 28, 2009)
    17. “Protect Trust Assets in Bankruptcy” (September 23, 2009)
    18. “Posthumously Conceived Children and Their Survivor Benefit” (October 21, 2009)
    19. “Wrestling with the Privacy Rights of John E. DuPont, Convicted Murderer” (January 27, 2010)
    20. “A Pitch for Privacy Rights” (February 18, 2010)
    21. “Marrying for the Money: A New Twist?” (April 20, 2010)
    22. “Filing Follies” (October 27, 2010)
    23. “Expanding Breaches” (January 19, 2011)
    24. “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”)
    25. “The Walls have e-Ears” (May 17, 2011)
    26. “Trustees and the Attorney-Client Privilege” (August 24, 2011)
    27. “Assessing Older Clients’ Capacity” (September 21, 2011)
    28. “Keeping Trusts Out of Court” (October 19, 2011)
    29. “The Estate Tax and Wrongful Death” (November 5, 2012)
    30. ”Father’s Will Dictates Sham Marriage” (December 21, 2012)
    31. “Seeds of Controversy” (January 28, 2013)
    32. “A Reckless Act?” (February 26, 2013)
    33. “Stripping Away the Mysteries of the Probate Exception” (April 23, 2013)

Representative Matters

  • Helped achieve an Illinois Supreme Court victory in a case involving a claim by a charity against a decedent’s off-shore asset protection trust
  • Successfully settled an action for tortious interference with inheritance brought by three sisters against a fourth sister for her alleged mistreatment and undue influence exerted upon their elderly and infirm mother
  • Successfully defended an action on behalf of a decedent’s brother in a hotly contested case involving heirship, paternity and DNA testing
  • 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, briefed an ultimately successful motion to dismiss, arguing that the company should be dismissed as a party defendant because it did not qualify as a charitable “trustee” under the Act
  • Acted as one of three lead attorneys in a complex trust litigation case in Pennsylvania, the crux of which involved the appointment of a successor corporate trustee to a trust holding as its sole asset shares of a publicly-traded corporation. A significant portion of this matter involved establishing a private trust company to put forth as a successor trustee candidate. This matter resulted in multiple appeals
  • Represented several charitable beneficiaries seeking early termination of a charitable trust. Briefed a petition for trust termination and secured the Illinois Attorney General’s support. The court ultimately granted the petition
  • Successfully defended regional bank client against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty
  • Acted as risk management counsel to American international financial services company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois during estate and trust administration in which one beneficiary repeatedly threatened to file suit against the client (administration was completed without any lawsuits against the client)
  • Numerous favorable decisions reforming or construing wills and trusts