Why Do I Need a Fair Oaks, CA, Trust Litigation Lawyer?
Whether you intend to create your own trust to limit uncertainty for your loved ones after your death, if you have been named trustee for a loved one, or if you believe a trustee appointed to manage your deceased loved one’s trust has failed in their fiduciary duties, a Fair Oaks, CA, trust litigation attorney can be an invaluable asset in navigating these difficult situations. Your attorney can assist with:
- Trust creation, ensuring it is as legally enforceable as possible. For example, your trust can include instructions for disbursing the contents of your bank accounts, stock portfolio, and physical assets, but it cannot include things like your 401(k) account and some other assets.
- Trust modification, in the event you need to alter the contents of a revocable trust. If your loved one has created an irrevocable trust, the elements are legally set in stone unless any evidence of fraud, coercion, or illegality surfaces.
- Trust litigation, if you or another beneficiary of a loved one’s trust raises a dispute over the trust’s contents or handling.
At McCunn Law, our team strives to eliminate the pressure and uncertainty that trust litigation often entails. We will work closely with you and your family to determine the best approach to your current situation.
What Is Trust Litigation?
Trust litigation is the process of handling any disputes that arise over the handling of a trust. When an individual creates a trust, they place their assets and property within the trust and designate ownership of the trust’s contents to a trustee. This individual may be their spouse, a grown child, a close family friend, or even their attorney. Typically, the trustor or creator of the trust will designate multiple choices for trustee if their first choice is unwilling or unable to assume the duties of a trustee.
The main purpose of a trust is to help the trustee’s family avoid probate, the lengthy litigation process that unfolds when a deceased person has no estate planning documents in place at the time of death. Probate is notoriously tedious and stressful, and the probate process revolves around the state’s laws for intestate succession. This can lead to many disputes among the deceased’s beneficiaries. They may disagree with the judge’s determinations and raise disputes about the validity of intestate succession laws based on numerous personal factors that the court will generally disregard in favor of upholding strict intestate succession statutes.
Unfortunately, even the most carefully crafted trusts can still generate disputes among the deceased’s family and beneficiaries. It’s possible for anyone with a valid claim on any portion of the deceased’s estate to raise a dispute over the legality of the trust or the trustee’s handling of it. For example, they may claim that the deceased did not create the trust under legal conditions or that the deceased was illegally coerced in some way that renders the trust unenforceable.
It is also possible for some parties to contest the trustee’s handling of the trust. For example, the trust may outline how the contents of the trust must be used, and if the trustee violates these conditions or fails to execute their duties faithfully, one of the deceased’s beneficiaries or any party named in the trust could raise a dispute that leads to extensive litigation.