In California, trust litigation and administration are no walk in the park; there are a lot of state laws and regulations to navigate. Unlike estates, which generally pass through probate (a court-supervised process), decedents’ trusts are administered with little to no involvement by the court. The probate court will only involve itself in trusts when the beneficiaries or the trustee ask for the court’s involvement by filing a petition. Many people opt for trusts instead of wills when creating their estate plans because of the privacy they offer; a lack of court involvement, however, can leave more room for things to go wrong.
Whether you are an heir, a beneficiary of a trust or the trustee, you can benefit from the expertise and experience of a California trust lawyer, who can help you obtain your rightful inheritance if you are a beneficiary or heir, or assist with your trust administration duties if you are a trustee. Trusts can be so difficult to navigate that even seasoned trustees often turn to a California trust lawyer for help.
At Keystone Law Group, our expert team of California trust attorneys are standing by to discuss your trust matter with you. Keystone’s California trust lawyers carry a long track record of vehemently defending its beneficiary clients’ inheritance rights and protecting its trustee clients against liabilities.
As one of the largest firms in California practicing exclusively in probate and trust litigation, our California trust lawyers have achieved a mastery of the field that is unmatched. When looking for representation, you want a California trust litigation attorney who can handle any trust matter that comes their way, no matter how complex. Our record speaks for itself. Turn to Keystone Law Group today for representation by some of the most knowledgeable California trust attorneys in the state.
Trustees are responsible for preparing periodic accountings to provide to beneficiaries and heirs. Depending on the size and complexity of the trust, this can be a burdensome task to take on by oneself. To prevent future accounting disputes, trustees should strongly consider hiring a California trust attorney to check their accountings or prepare them on their behalf.
As for beneficiaries, if an accounting seems off, or if certain trust assets are not accounted for, it is a good idea to hire a California trust lawyer to inspect the accountings for errors or signs of misconduct or negligence on the part of the trustee. If your trust and estate attorney agrees that the accountings are problematic, they can help contest the accountings in court. A California trust attorney can also help trustees defend accountings that are being contested.
Perhaps the decedent executed a trust but failed to transfer the titles of the property mentioned in the trust into the trust’s name before they died. Perhaps two siblings jointly inherited a house through a trust, and now a partition action must be brought because one sibling wants to sell the home and the other doesn’t.
Anytime the assets held by a trust are the subject of a dispute, a California trust litigation lawyer may be needed to help resolve the dispute.
Suppose that an adult child moved into the home of their dying parent under the pretense of caring for them, but then, by becoming close to the parent, persuaded them to drastically change their trust to disinherit their other children and make the adult child who moved in the sole beneficiary. Or, suppose that a patient with dementia created and executed a trust. Both of the aforementioned scenarios present valid grounds for contesting a trust.
Trust contests can only be brought for very specific reasons in California (disliking the trust’s provisions is not one of them). And they can only be brought by someone with standing (i.e., a party who has financial stake in the trust). A California trust attorney can assist you with determining whether you have the grounds and standing to contest a trust.
If you suspect that a trustee is engaged in misconduct or is being negligent with their duties, it is important to get in touch with a California trust attorney as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of more financial harm befalling the trust. If your lawyer agrees with your claims about the trustee, they may be able to enter a petition with the court to remove and surcharge the trustee for the damage they caused to the trust.
Mental capacity can start to decline at old age, leaving elders susceptible to financial abuse. Often, elder financial abuse takes the form of someone close to an elder unduly influencing the elder or perpetrating fraud against them to cause them to drastically modify their trust to favor their abuser. A California trust lawyer can help investigate and litigate these types of claims to recover the property that was lost and damages. A California trust lawyer can also defend anyone who has been accused of elder financial abuse.
If you are the surviving spouse of a decedent, you have certain inheritance rights. In California, which is a community property state, spouses are entitled to one-half of all community property (i.e., property that was acquired over the course of a marriage by either spouse), with certain limited exceptions.
Children are generally not guaranteed an inheritance from their deceased parent, but they still have certain rights as heirs of a decedent. Unmarried cohabiting couples may have inheritance rights as well, but enforcing them may be difficult. Children and unmarried cohabitating partners of decedents should work with a California trust attorney to ensure they receive the inheritance they are due.
When deciding whether or not to bring a trust-related claim, it is important to consider attorney’s fees and costs. If the claim is seeking to recover property that was misappropriated from a trust or seeking damages for an action that financially harmed the trust, chances are that legal fees can be paid using trust assets. But if the trust is not sizable, there is a possibility that litigation could deplete the trust’s assets. That is why it is so important to consult with a California trust lawyer about your budgetary concerns prior to bringing a claim. An experienced trust attorney will be able to provide insight about whether it would be worth the time and money to litigate a particular matter and potentially provide alternatives to litigation that could lower the overall cost.
Some of the ways Keystone’s California trust attorneys can help with trust matters include:
Keystone attorneys dedicate their practice to trust and estate litigation and administration. By being laser-focused on one practice area, they have achieved a level of expertise in their field that few other firms can match. Keystone’s California trust attorneys are ready to provide you with skillful and efficient representation to help you reach a desirable outcome to your matter. Keystone is one of California’s largest and most prominent probate firms and it has an undeniable record of success.
The California trust attorneys at Keystone have: