El Dorado County Trust Litigation Lawyer

Years of Experience Protecting Families Throughout California

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Divorce
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Representing El Dorado County Clients in Trust Litigation

Estate planning should be a priority for anyone who wishes to save their loved one’s time and money on an expensive and stressful probate process after their death. While it is rarely pleasant to imagine the end of your life, taking time to address the legal issues your death will entail for your family is well worth the effort. A comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust generally offers the best level of protection for your family from probate proceedings. Both revocable and irrevocable trusts can accomplish this in different ways, and an El Dorado County trust litigation attorney can help you determine which type of trust is best suited to your goals and expectations.

Unfortunately, trusts do not always function as intended, and even the most comprehensively crafted trusts can still leave room for disputes. At McCunn Law, we understand how stressful probate and related legal proceedings can be for the family of a recently deceased individual. If you need an El Dorado County trust litigation attorney, our team can provide the legal services you need to navigate your trust dispute with confidence.

An El Dorado County Trust Litigation Attorney You Can Trust Call (916) 827-3427

Why Should I Hire an El Dorado County Trust Litigation Attorney?

When a person creates a trust, they generally do so with the intention of making their final wishes as clear as possible when it comes to distribution of their remaining assets and property. For a trust to qualify as legally enforceable, it must include legal provisions, and the trustor must have created it willingly while of sound mind. An El Dorado County trust litigation lawyer can be invaluable in the event someone raises a dispute against your loved one’s trust. They may claim that it was produced fraudulently, includes unconscionable provisions, or that the trustor created it under duress. Ultimately, there are many reasons why a person may file a dispute against your loved one’s trust if they have any legal interest in the estate in question.

An El Dorado County trust litigation attorney can help you navigate issues like these with greater confidence. Your legal team will review the trust in question and examine the dispute filed against it to determine your best approach to the situation. Unfortunately, due to the fact that trusts are becoming more common choices in the US, there are many people assigned as executors or trustees who are not entirely qualified or capable of discharging their duties without error. When errors in trust administration occur, the chance of trust litigation happening increases dramatically.

How Does a Trust Work?

At the most basic level, a trust is a legal agreement between three parties: the trustor, or creator of the trust, the trustee, or the personal representative designated by the trustor to handle administration of their trust, and the beneficiaries named in the trust. In some cases, these parties may overlap. When the trustor dies, ownership of the trust falls to the trustee, and they have the legal duty of following the trustor’s provisions for trust administration included in the trust. They must do so faithfully and to the best of their ability. If a named trustee is unable or unwilling to fulfill these duties, the trust may include instructions for this situation, such as a secondary choice of trustee. Whoever ultimately acts as the trustee then assumes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust.

What Can an El Dorado County Trust Litigation Attorney Do for Me?

The attorneys at McCunn Law provide El Dorado County clients with a wide range of trust-related legal services. We understand that trust administration can be a delicate situation for any group of beneficiaries. Additionally, related beneficiaries may not always agree with one another or the actions of a trustee despite the fact that they may be family.

Your El Dorado County trust litigation lawyer can help you with many aspects of trust administration, from the creation of a new trust to modification of an existing revocable trust to providing legal counsel during a trust administration dispute. At McCunn Law, we understand that the loss of a loved one can be devastating, and coupling this event with financial issues related to trust administration can be especially difficult for the family members involved in the situation. Our goal is to guide you through this situation as expeditiously as possible.

How Do Trust Disputes Happen?

The trust will typically include clear rules for the trustee’s handling of the trust. Additionally, the trust should also contain language that provides a measure of liability protection for the trustee, meaning that if a trustee makes an honest mistake in the administration of the trust, the trustee is not personally liable so long as they make a legitimate effort to correct the mistake. Most trust litigation arises when a trustee knowingly mishandles the trust, such as paying themselves too much out of the trust’s assets or misusing funds beyond their assigned intended uses. If this occurs, any beneficiary has the right to file a claim against the trustee for breach of fiduciary duty.

Most trusts will require their designated trustees to provide the court with regular reports of all their account-related activity in handling the trust, such as spending trust funds for approved purposes and distributing assets to beneficiaries as directed by the trust. The trust will typically dictate how often the trustee must file these accounting reports and what details they must include. It is generally a best practice for trustees to be as detailed as possible with their accounting reports to limit uncertainty and suspicion among beneficiaries of the trust. They will want to be sure the trustee is handling the trust appropriately, and these accounting reports are the best way to provide peace of mind.

Trust litigation is likely to arise if a beneficiary feels as though they have been deprived of information or provided false or incomplete information. Trustees can effectively insulate themselves from trust litigation by providing the most complete accountings they can and addressing any raised concerns as fully as possible in a timely manner.

Trust litigation is also likely if a trustee engages in any activity that beneficiaries deem a conflict of interest. This is especially common when a trustee is given authority to run the trustor’s business after their death. It is also possible for claims of conflict of interest to arise when the trustee must sell assets of the trust or performs other duties related to trust administration. Ultimately, if the trustee takes any action that benefits the trustee or their family at the expense of the trust, this could constitute a conflict of interest.

Sometimes a beneficiary will object to the manner in which a trustee handles some aspect of trust administration. In this situation, it is generally best for the trustee to consult with the beneficiary about their concerns. If the beneficiary is insisting the trustee handle the issue in a specific way, it is often in the best interest of the trustee to acquiesce to this request as they hold a fiduciary duty while the beneficiary does not.

Grounds for Challenging Trust Administration

Trust litigation might arise that pertains to the elements of the trust itself and not necessarily the actions of the trustee. If you believe there is a legal issue that requires you to question the validity of a trust, it’s best to consult an El Dorado County trust litigation lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Some of the most commonly cited reasons for challenging the validity and legal enforceability of a trust include:

  • Fraud. If a party alleges that the trust or any element thereof was created on fraudulent grounds, this could easily lead to protracted trust litigation. The parties involved will need to determine whether fraud was a factor of any kind in the creation of the trust.
  • Coercion, undue influence, or duress. A trust is not legally valid if the trustor was forced to create it or forced to include certain provisions. If anyone coerced or manipulated the trustor in any way during the trust creation process, the trust is legally unenforceable. While it may sound difficult to believe, some relatives will threaten or otherwise place undue influence on a loved one if they think it will get them more money from their estate.
  • Forgery. Although forgery is rarely a concern in trust administration, some people will go to extraordinary lengths for money. If any party suspects that any element of a trust was forged, or if someone forged the trustor’s signature, this could lead to intensive trust litigation.
  • Lack of capacity. A trustor must be of sound mind when they create their trust. A party may allege that the trustor lacked the mental capacity to create a legally enforceable trust due to a degenerative neurological condition or similar circumstances.

If any of these issues arise, it is possible for a judge to throw out the trust, and the case will likely move to probate. In the event any party engaged in illegal actions to alter the outcome of trust administration, they will likely face criminal prosecution as well.

What to Expect from an El Dorado Trust Litigation Attorney

If you are a trustee or beneficiary of a trust and encounter any issue that you believe warrants trust litigation, it is essential to secure legal counsel from a trustworthy El Dorado County trust litigation lawyer as soon as possible. Your legal team will help you determine the best approach to the situation and guide you through your proceedings as they unfold, allowing you to face the situation with more confidence.

Typically, a trust litigation attorney will begin handling a case like this by analyzing the root of the dispute. For example, if a party is alleging that the trust in question is fraudulent or otherwise legally unenforceable, they may initiate an investigation into how the trust was made and the parties involved. If a party who would be an heir under the laws of intestate succession stakes a claim in the trust but was not included in the trust, the attorney may want to investigate whether the heir was left out of the trust intentionally or mistakenly.

In some cases, trust litigation can be resolved through settlement. If the parties involved are able to come to a mutual agreement about their dispute, the parties involved in the trust administration can move past the issue and continue with trust administration. In the event a trust is found to be legally unenforceable, an El Dorado County trust litigation attorney can help their client prepare for the probate process.

At McCunn Law, we can not only provide the legal representation you need during trust litigation but also provide a full range of estate planning services if you want to minimize the chances of your loved ones facing trust litigation themselves or enduring the probate process. We can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan, including a trust of the type of your choosing, to provide you with peace of mind and your family with an easier trust administration process after your death.

Why Choose McCunn Law?

When you and your family are facing any type of trust litigation, it is essential to have a reliable El Dorado County trust litigation lawyer on your side to help you navigate this situation. Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but if someone was appointed as the trustee of your deceased loved one’s trust and knowingly failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty for personal gain, we can help you hold them accountable. Additionally, many trust litigation issues arise completely outside the fault of the trustee, and we can help you get to the bottom of these situations as well.

The attorneys at McCunn Law have years of experience handling difficult trust litigation on behalf of our clients in El Dorado County. We take a client-focused approach to trust litigation and take the time to get to know our clients’ goals and concerns to provide the most comprehensive legal representation we possibly can. If you have encountered any type of trust dispute or need to file a dispute of your own, we can help. Contact McCunn Law today to learn more about what our team can do for you and what you can expect from our legal services.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.