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Gilbert W. File IV

Guardianship Attorney at Raleigh, NC

4.9   28 reviews

also known as Gil File, Gilbert File


Licensed for 23 years

Free consultation

About Gilbert

Learn Gilbert’s areas of practice.

3
Practice areas
  1. Guardianship
    50%
    Litigation of contested incompetency and guardianship proceedings, including issues of abuse or financial exploitation. Representation of fiduciaries such as attorney-in-fact under Power of Attorney, Executor, or Trustee. Litigation against persons or entities who have breached fiduciary duties or intentionally exploited an incompetent adult or minor.

    23 years, 1,500 cases

  2. Litigation
    40%
    Estate and fiduciary litigation; representation of fiduciaries such as Executor, Trustee, Health Care Agent, or Financial Power of Attorney (attorney-in-fact). Business litigation such as collections, contracts, or unfair practices. Landlord-tenant.

    23 years

  3. Estate planning
    10%
    Estate planning such as Last Will and Testament, Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney, and Declaration of Desire for Natural Death.

 

A North Carolina native, Gil grew up in the Raleigh and Asheville areas. He graduated in 1993 from the only college to which he applied — The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. Later, he attended Campbell Law School, graduating in 1999. Gil worked in the Office of the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court both before and after law school, first serving as a Deputy Clerk prior to law school, and then as the first Legal Officer and Assistant Clerk. The Senior Resident Superior Court Judge of Wake County ultimately appointed Gil as the Clerk of Superior Court and Probate Judge for Wake County.

In his former judicial capacity as the Clerk of Superior Court and Assistant Clerk, Gil has presided over thousands of judicial hearings involving incompetency, guardianship, estate/trust matters; the appointment and removal of fiduciaries; and collection and enforcement of judgments. Gil has personal and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the court system which provides a unique perspective to drive creative, efficient, and effective litigation strategy that serves his clients well.

For over a decade following his time as Clerk of Superior Court for Wake County, Gil practiced with Raleigh’s Brownlee Law Firm, which later became Brownlee Whitlow Praet & File, PLLC. Gil formed File Law Firm, PLLC in 2017, where he practiced for three years until joining HLB.

Gil’s practice has focused on complex and contested cases involving incompetency, guardianship, estates/trusts, and breach of fiduciary duty and fraud matters. Additionally, Gil handles commercial and landlord-tenant law, representing commercial clients, residential landlords, and property management companies with respect to business debts, contract disputes, construction issues, enforcement of judgments and liens, housing issues, litigation, and regulation.

Gil currently serves as part of the North Carolina Rethinking Guardianship effort and statutory drafting team to effect needed revisions and long-term changes to North Carolina’s guardianship laws and procedure.

Gil treasures family life with his wife and children and enjoys participating in the various activities that go along with raising young children. He is also actively involved in a variety of charitable and community endeavors and sits on the Board of Directors for several non-profits — all experiences which complement his dedication to serving those in greatest need in our local community.

Professional Achievements
In 2015, Gil obtained the 3rd highest verdict in the State in a landmark fraud case which he litigated for over 7 years against a financial advisor, securities dealer, and its affiliated trust bank and their teams of lawyers in the specialized court for complex business cases in North Carolina. Gil and his co-counsel and friend, Robert Zaytoun, achieved a very rare victory — the second in the State and one of only a handful in the United States in the last two decades — in voiding a purported securities arbitration agreement which would have deprived his elderly Alzheimer’s client and her estate of a jury trial. Gil successfully defended against the brokerage’s effort to overturn the decision of the NC Business Court during appellate arguments before the NC Court of Appeals which unanimously affirmed the Business Court’s decision. Gil and his co-counsel also obtained the first reported decision which denied a securities dealer of the “securities exemption” to the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, and this claim was allowed to proceed to a jury. Gil personally investigated this matter, uncovered a large, sophisticated fraud, brought the case to the U.S. Attorney in Raleigh, and provided the federal investigators and prosecutor with key financial documents including timelines, flowcharts, and supporting financial data to assist in obtaining the financial advisor’s guilty plea an active federal prison sentence. Ultimately, after years of litigation, countless working hours, dozens of fact witness and expert witness depositions, and many thousands of pages of documents, Gil and his co-counsel settled the case confidentially with Morgan Keegan and Regions Bank and obtained a $13 Million verdict against the financial advisor, Hal Blondeau.

In awarding $2.9M in attorney’s fees and expenses in the verdict, the Chief Judge of the NC Business Court found that Gil File and Robert Zaytoun were “highly experienced in previously and successfully serving as legal counsel in civil actions presenting similar complicated factual and legal issues as the instant matter” and “devoted themselves for some seven years and countless working hours to the successful prosecution of this civil action in behalf of the Plaintiffs and achieved excellent results for Plaintiffs ….” (See Paragraph 27, p. 32, Verdict and Judgment).

This case was featured in several front-page articles in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and was further publicized in other mainstream and financial media stories.*

Licensed for 23 years
State NC
Status Active
Acquired 1999
Updated 10/03/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Gilbert

Hatch, Little & Bunn, LLP
2626 Glenwood Avenue
Suite 550
Raleigh, NC, 27608

Reviews

4.9 / 5.0
  28 customer reviews
Posted by Janice | July 8, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
We Had the Best! Thank you!
When you’re in the process of grieving you really need someone with not only knowledge but empathy and care. We found Gil File. We were trying to resolve matters concerning my brother’s estate in North Carolina and we live in Pennsylvania. Gil, made the process so easy even in the midst of the pandemic when so many government offices were limiting or had no in-person hours. The laws for North Carolina were so different than in Pennsylvania. Any time we had questions, Gil was prompt to speak with us on the phone and resolve everything. When paperwork seemed confusing to us, we knew we could call and get expert help with anything. I personally loved that he never seemed in a hurry but always gave us his full attention to the smallest of issues we brought to him. His personal touch was so greatly appreciated and his knowledge of the laws expedited the time needed for this process of closing an estate. We consider the work that was done by Gil for this family to be top notch. We were always informed at each step of the way, we felt the genuine concern for our family with the loss of my brother, and would highly recommend him to anyone needing some type of help navigating the legal system even in the toughest of times.
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Posted by anonymous | March 18, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Absolutely Phenomenal!
Gil is absolutely amazing to work with. He was extremely knowledgeable about my circumstances and worked diligently to resolve our problems as quickly as possible. He takes the time to ensure he understands all of the facts and explains everything in detail. He's extremely patient and I never felt rushed or like I was bothering him with my numerous questions. But it wasn't just his professionalism that won me over. He is a genuine, kind and phenomenal person all the way around. From day one he was transparent about everything and helped navigate me through a very stressful situation with ease. He was a true blessing to my family. I would recommend him to everyone. Thank you again Gil
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Posted by anonymous | February 4, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Highly Recommended Attorney
Mr. File far surpassed my highest expectations. He was highly recommended by an excellent criminal attorney and I'm so glad that I took his advice. I sought his help when my only child was in an extreme mental health crisis and Mr. File could not have been more compassionate, discreet and knowledgeable. It would be difficult to find an attorney who responds more quickly and insightfully to every inquiry from the client. Thanks to Mr. File, we were able to find creative legal solutions that were uniquely suited to my son's very complex and challenging condition. If you need a diligent, responsive and kind-hearted attorney, hire Mr. Gilbert File.
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Posted by Craig | January 12, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
COO
Mr File provided Excellent service and is very professional! He completely understand the nature of the business and services provided. The process was flawless.
Posted by Charlie | October 4, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
REview on Attorney Gilbert File
Gil is a trusteed and competent attorney who bring s strong lever of insight, knowledge, compassion to the courtroom. I never once had to question his approach and it allowed me to be the client and not the attorney. Most of all Gil has a heart to see the real issue at hand and act accordingly. He digested the tons on information on the case and never kept his eye off the ball "what Is best for my daughter Jamie" Gil is not only a good attorney he is a person with character, honor and courage.
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Posted by Ruth | September 4, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
An Unusual Estate
Our family had a previously unknown circumstance that impacted settling the estate. I appreciated Gil's kindness and patience throughout the process. He did not rush us while he listened carefully in order to determine the gravity of the situation. During the process he responded quickly to questions and concerns. I found his willingness to communicate regularly particularly valuable. In the end he achieved our goal while keeping his charges in the reasonable range. I would recommend Gilbert W. File IV with confidence in the future.
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Posted by anonymous | September 1, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Gil File Review
Mr. File was very understanding of a difficult estate situation. He was calm and helpful each step of the way. I was doing this estate from another state. He just kept it simple for me and took care of everything. He knew where to go for information and how to use that information to benefit me. Thank you.
Posted by Kevin | July 6, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Guided Me Through the Process Every Step of the Way
I hired Gilbert File to represent my interests in a Guardianship case filed by the nursing home my mother resides in. Gilbert took time on multiple occasions to explain the guardianship process to me and patiently answered all of my questions. Gilbert's extensive knowledge and expertise allowed me to prevail in my effort to become the legal guardian of my mother.
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Posted by Lisa | October 2, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Amazingly helpful
Gil provided so much helpful advice and support during several months of intense family difficulties surrounding and following my father’s final illness and death. Gil was always very clear and honest regarding my options. I trust him implicitly and can’t recommend him highly enough. I truly don’t know what I would have done without him.
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Posted by anonymous | February 6, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Guardianship
When my siblings and I contacted Gil File we were desperate. Our elderly father and his estate had come under the control of some bad actors. Our previous lawyer had gotten us nowhere. But, despite the complex laws surrounding guardianship and elder abuse, and with the clock ticking, Gil quickly got a handle on the intricate narrative of our situation. He understood the urgency and divined a strategy that, quite frankly, the other side didn’t see coming. Gil gamed out our whole approach brilliantly. Within months, we were in court for an emergency hearing that marked the beginning of the end for the bad actors who were quickly stopped and eventually removed. Not only is Gil File a razor-sharp tactician who has a thorough understanding of the law and how it works, he cares deeply about his clients. My siblings and I will be forever thankful that we found Gil File. He is an awesome, very personable, extremely talented lawyer and strategist who will fight for his clients all the way! A man of real conviction and heart. Gil File is the real deal.
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Posted by The Smith/Walker Family | November 28, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A Steady Hand at the Rudder
Gil’s finest quality is his ability to empathize with his client’s plight. He was supportive, understood our concerns and even understood our anger and frustration with the situation and the judicial system. Although he may have shared our view when we explained how absurd our opposition was, he was able to explain our limitations and our inability to completely control the situation while his calming and professional demeanor kept us from going off the rails or taking an action which was not in our best interest. He has a depth of experience which allows him to draw from past cases and apply them to ours. He had the right courtroom presence for the types of family cases he represents. He was always responsive and available and kept us advised when he simply could not be.
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Posted by David | June 17, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Executor of Estate
Gil (and his staff) did an outstanding job for me and my brother. My family ended up in a challenging situation with our estate and Gil fought very hard for us and relied on many years of experience to get us the desired results. I would highly recommend Gil and believe he was definitely the right man for job!
Posted by anonymous | May 10, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly qualified attorney
Gilbert (Gil) was hired to represent my case in seeking guardianship with a family member. Gil was very patient, caring and diligent, while maintaining an exceptionally high level of professionalism from the initial consultation through the end of the hearing. I would definitely seek his services again and recommend his firm.
Posted by Cheryl | February 5, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Guardianship
We recently moved from Oregon. Gilbert File and our Oregon attorney worked together to do a guardianship transfer from Oregon to North Carolina for our son. He worked so well with our Oregon attorney and us! Gilbert was always prompt and kind in his correspondence and always quick to do his steps in the transfer process. We sure appreciate Gilbert File’s help and kindness!
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Posted by Gin | November 14, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Perfect fit!
When a family member suddenly dies there are about a million things that happen. Add to the death an emergency surgery & that only adds to the complexity of my personal situation. I hired Gilbert File to handle my husband's estate...I could not have found a more perfect fit! When I was impatient and wanted things to happen, Gil wisely suggested we work through the process. Throughout the entire ordeal Gil remained a perfect gentleman. His knowledge of the law is without question. His integrity and character are also without question. Gil listens...he gets to know your personality and when you are stressed. Gil guided me through this process and made it seem effortless. Do you need an advocate to guide you? Then Gilbert File is THE attorney for you. I highly recommend him.
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Posted by anonymous | October 10, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Extraordinary lawyer
Gil File is a competent, knowledgeable, and compassionate lawyer who’s well known in the state NC. For clients from out of state, who are intimidated and unfamiliar with NC laws, please don’t hesitate to seek his counsel. He represented me in an extremely complicated spousal support in a guardianship case. Mr. File informed me of my rights and resolved my case gently but firmly. Observing him during the hearing, I noticed that he’s highly respected by his colleagues as well. Gil File stands for justice; he’s a true gentleman/lawyer. I highly recommend him for his area of practice, and for clients whose legal matters are not related to his area, to accept his referrals and advice cause Gil File is trustworthy and conscientious.
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Posted by Maureen | March 23, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Dedicated to law and his client’s needs!
Gilbert is a great gentleman even when he is not representing you as counsel. Gilbert has a way of thoroughly documenting progress, providing status updates, and genuinely working with both parties. Many have stated it best he is a zealous advocate for his clients while recognizing areas for compromise.
Posted by Josephine | January 15, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
real dedication and integrity
Had to find an attorney with just one week to go before the court. Found Gilbert W. File, being in another state made it very complex. He is a very dedicated and compassionate about his work. So glad to have come across him.
Posted by Carrie | September 9, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Gil is very knowledgeable, caring and competent.
My daughter's father and I hired Gil File to assist us with a guardianship matter for our daughter. Our daughter is a beautiful, talented, young adult who suffers from a mental illness. With proper medication and guidance she can lead a somewhat normal life. Most recently we had a situation in which her guardian was not working to increase her independence. This guardian was not helping my daughter at all. Gil was able to help us get the guardian we needed to help further my daughter's best interests. Gil has helped with this situation for the past four years. He has always been a fantastic resource and has always done a wonderful job for us. I would highly recommend Gil.
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Posted by Belinda | September 6, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Living Will Dilemma
An estate planning specialist referred me to Gil regarding a possible litigation issue involving the interpretation of my elderly mother’s Living Will by hospital staff. This was an emergency and end-of-life situation since the hospital was refusing to provide artificial nutrition and hydration to my mother due to a provision in my mother’s health care power of attorney. At the time I contacted Gil, I was not very optimistic based on my understanding of how “final” a Living Will might be to a hospital or to a court. There didn’t seem to me much hope for success. Rather than dismissing this situation out-of-hand due to the obvious time constraints and unique legal challenges involved, Gil immediately investigated and researched the situation, and he discussed it with the hospital’s attorney before filing anything. Based on the available medical records and my mother’s answers to hospital staff when she was first admitted, Gil was able to file a detailed lawsuit and was strategic in getting this into court very quickly for a hearing on an emergency restraining order that same day – on a Friday afternoon. We were able to get a temporary order from the Superior Court which required the hospital to surgically provide a PEG tube for artificial nutrition and hydration. My mother would not have otherwise survived the weekend. Since then, my mother has been discharged into my care. Gil was compassionate throughout this difficult legal situation and saw possibilities that I don’t think most lawyers would have seen. From what I observed and have learned, this was legally very complex and difficult, and Gil knew that it would require careful investigation and due diligence. He was candid in his assessments of the difficulties, and following his review of all the available information and medical records, stayed up all night in order to get the lawsuit filed and arrange an immediate hearing with the hospital’s attorney present. I highly recommend Gil for any estate or guardianship dispute.
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Cost

Rates
  • Free Consultation 15 minutes
Payment methods
Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • File Law Firm, PLLC
  • 2017 - Present
  • Partner
  • Brownlee Whitlow Praet & File, PLLC
  • 2015 - 2017
  • Director
  • Marvin L. Baker Family Foundation
  • 2014 - 2015
  • Attorney
  • Brownlee Law Firm, PLLC
  • 2006 - 2015
  • Attorney
  • Vann & Sheridan, LLP
  • 2002 - 2006
  • Wake County Clerk of Superior Court
  • NC Judicial Branch
  • 2001 - 2002
  • Legal Officer / Asst Clerk of Superior Court
  • NC Judicial Branch
  • 1999 - 2001
  • Deputy Clerk of Superior Court
  • NC Judicial Branch
  • 1993 - 1996
View all work experience

Education

  • Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1999
  • Citadel
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1993

Legal Cases

  • Erin Davis v. Shellbrook Court
  • Defense verdict
  • Roshonda Brown v. Bryan Woods Apts.
  • Defense verdict
  • Capps v. Blondeau, et al
  • Confidential Settlement with Morgan Keegan and Regions Bank; $13.2 Million verdict against broker
View all legal cases

Associations

  • Rethinking Guardianship NC - statutory writing team
  • Member
  • 2019 - Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Elder Law Section
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Construction Law Section
  • Member
  • 2002 - Present
  • Law and Aging Committee
  • Co-Chair
  • 2005 - 2007
  • AOC Liaison Committee, NC Bar Association
  • Committee Member
  • 2004 - 2007
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, Estate Administration Manual Committee
  • Member
  • 2003 - 2016
  • Clerks of Superior Court Legislative Committee
  • Member
  • 2001 - 2001
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Awards

  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2020
  • Fellow
  • NC Institute of Political Leadership
  • 2000

Publications

  • North Carolina Estate Administration Manual
  • N.C. Guardianship Practice and Procedure
  • 2014
  • North Carolina Estate Administration Manual
  • N.C. Guardianship Practice and Procedure
  • 2012
  • North Carolina Estate Administration Manual
  • Guardianship Practice and Procedure Chapter
  • 2010
  • North Carolina Estate Administration Manual
  • N.C. Guardianship Practice and Procedure
  • 2005
  • North Carolina Elder Law Newsletter
  • Substitute Decision Making: Issues in the Interrelationship Between Powers of Attorney and Guardianship
  • 2005
  • North Carolina Estate Administration Manual
  • N.C. Guardianship Practice and Procedure
  • 2003
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Who Makes the Decisions Now? Basic Guardianship Issues
  • Guardianship
  • 2006
  • Practice Before The Clerk - CLE lecturer and manuscript author
  • Practice Before the Clerk
  • 2003
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Incompetency and Guardianship Proceedings
  • 2001
  • Nuts and Bolts of Civil Practice - CLE lecturer and manuscript author
  • Civil Practice
  • 2001
  • Guest lecturer - Elder Law and District Court Practice
  • Elder Law and District Court Practice
  • 2001
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (5)
Given (4)
Real estate Attorney | Mar 23
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Gil and I opposed each other on a real estate/landlord-tenant matter. I found him to be a zealous advocate for his client while also recognizing areas where compromise was available. I've even referred potential clients to him since our case resolved."
Real estate Attorney | Feb 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am impressed with Gilbert's thoughtful advice and answers to legal questions. He has an understanding of the law and an ability to communicate legal concepts clearly and effectively. I endorse this lawyer!"
Guardianship Attorney | Apr 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Attorney File has an excellent rating on AVVO and an asset on AVVO to the AVVO community. He gives excellent advice in the area of guardianship."
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney | Oct 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Gilbert. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Litigation Attorney | Aug 17
Relationship: Friend
"I've known Gil for almost 15 years now since we went to law school together. Gil is a tenacious litigator who will work tirelessly for his clients. He is bright, approachable and a phenomenal person to have on your side for any issue."
Litigation
Guardianship
Workers compensation
Raleigh Guardianship Lawyer Gilbert W. File IV
Gilbert W. File IV
Guardianship Attorney
Raleigh, NC
Licensed for 23 years
Free Consultation