Pasadena Trust Litigation Lawyers Helping Clients Protect Their Right to an Inheritance
Trusts are a popular estate planning tool for those who wish to keep their estate out of probate and have greater control over how assets are distributed after their death. Unfortunately, disputes among trust beneficiaries can also be common and lead to significant legal battles. Our attorneys explain how trust litigation works in California and what you can do if you believe there may have been fraud or undue influence involved at the time a trust document was written.
What Are My Options for Contesting a Trust in California?
If you have legal standing to contest a trust, the process works similarly to a will contest. Both revocable and irrevocable trusts can be contested, and the first recommended step to initiate a contest is to speak to a trust litigation attorney to make sure you have a valid case and the right reasons to contest the trust.
You will then initiate a lawsuit in the appropriate probate court with jurisdiction over the trust. If a beneficiary is simply challenging the terms of the trust because he or she is not satisfied with the inheritance they were given, most likely the case will not be heard by the court. You must have a compelling reason to challenge the terms of the trust or evidence that the administrator of the trust is not acting in good faith, for example.
What Are Some Reasons for Filing a Trust Contest?
There are a few common reasons that may be grounds for initiating a trust contest lawsuit. When trust beneficiaries suspect the trust owner was pressured or coerced into creating the trust or changing its terms. This can happen if an adult child pressures an elderly parent into creating or changing a trust. Another reason is when there is a suspicion that the trust owner was not mentally capable at the time the trust was created – as in the person was suffering from dementia or another medical condition that impairs their judgment.
Showing that fraud may have been involved in the creation or administration of the trust, or demonstrating that the person who helped set up the trust will directly benefit from it are also valid grounds for a contest. If you are not sure whether you have a solid reason for a trust contest lawsuit or not, your first step should be contacting a trust litigation attorney.
Who Is Eligible to Initiate a Trust Contest in California?
To begin a trust litigation process, you are required to have legal standing. This is a broadly defined legal concept that refers to any party with a property right that will be affected by the proceeding. Those may include heirs, children, a spouse, other beneficiaries, and even creditors with an interest in the estate.
How Can a Trust Litigation Attorney Help Me?
Trust litigation matters can be complicated, and it is difficult – if not impossible – to achieve a successful outcome without the help of a knowledgeable trust litigation attorney. Before your case ever reaches the court, a significant amount of work needs to be done to make sure your case is valid and that you have enough evidence to demonstrate you have the right grounds and legal standing to initiate the challenge.
Your attorney can play a key role during this initial preparation step and guide you through the entire process as your lawsuit moves through the court. At Barilari & Williams, LLP, our legal team has assisted countless clients in Pasadena and surrounding areas to successfully contest a trust. Reach out to us at 888-EST-PLAN for all your trust litigation needs and questions.