Disputes Between Heirs and Beneficiaries in San Diego, CA

Disputes Between Heirs and Beneficiaries in San Diego, CA

Families typically use trusts as part of their estate plan so that parents can transfer their assets to their children while avoiding the probate process in California. As a result, many disputes between heirs and trust beneficiaries lead to lawsuits. Trust contest is the term for it. An elderly parent that lacked the ability to make decisions may have established or altered a trust.

By submitting or responding to legal petitions through the California court system, a conflict is resolved through litigation. Litigation may be necessary to settle disputes between heirs and beneficiaries.

Anyone whose inheritance is being legally contested can benefit from the counsel of an experienced trust litigation attorney. The California trust litigation group at Casiano Law Firm has developed a reputation as knowledgeable attorneys who use their courtroom expertise to advance clients’ interests.

Let the Casiano Law Firm’s California trust litigation lawyer examine the details. Talk to him about how to resolve disputes between trust beneficiaries and heirs. Schedule an appointment for a no-charge phone consult with his law office by calling him right away.


Why do I need a Trust Litigation Attorney in California?

Nobody wants disputes between heirs and beneficiaries, but unfortunately, huge inheritances and complex trusts frequently give rise to them. While most people would want to avoid this drawn-out legal process, it is frequently required to make sure that the real intentions of the trust’s owner are being properly carried out. 

A trust litigation lawyer should be retained without delay if you are the beneficiary of an asset that is the subject of trust litigation and if you think the trust does not accurately reflect the owner’s intentions.

It is essential to hire a trust litigation attorney early on in the litigation process if you are involved in a dispute that is the subject of a trust, whether you are the heir or the trust beneficiary. For a no-charge phone consult with a California trust litigation lawyer, get in touch with him right away.


What is a Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party retains legal ownership of property on behalf of a group of people. When a person (the “trustor” or “settlor”) gives another person (the “trustee”) responsibility over their property or assets for the benefit of a second party (the “beneficiary”), that person establishes a legal relationship known as a “trust.”

Once the trust is established, the chosen trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the trust’s and its beneficiaries’ (sometimes known as “beneficiaries”) best interests. To assure the safekeeping of assets or property for the benefit of another person or party is one of the most frequent reasons why trusts are established.


What is Trust Litigation?

A dispute over assets between trustees or beneficiaries is the basis for trust litigation. To resolve a trust dispute, one party (often the beneficiary) files a petition or legal claim, which starts the probate court process.

Trust disputes can occur in a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Fiduciary duty breaches
  • There is proof that the trustee engaged in inappropriate behavior.
  • Property owners may not be immediately apparent.
  • When the trust may be ambiguous.

Litigation may occur from any action or inaction by a trustee which violates the conditions of the trust or the trustee’s fiduciary obligations.

You may file a petition to get the trustee removed if they have mismanaged the trust’s funds.

When an heir or a specified beneficiary has reservations about how assets are dispersed in a trust, trust contests are sometimes filed.


What Are the Types of Disputes?

There are various types of disputes, these includes:

Trustee Dispute

The majority of trust disputes fall under this category. It occurs when the trust’s beneficiaries have a problem with the trustee in position. There could be several reasons for this:

  • The trustee could be careless in carrying out their fiduciary duties or managing the Trust
  • The trustee can be mismanaging trust assets or property
  • If the trustee is due to receive a portion of the estate, they might be defrauding the estate

In this situation, the disputing party will ask the court to appoint a successor trustee in place of the designated trustee.

Trust Contest

This type of trust dispute arises when a disputant thinks the language of the Trust is improper. The error may have been made on purpose or unintentionally. Additionally, it might be the outcome of dishonest or unethical influence. For instance, if an abruptly new clause that modifies the Trust’s beneficiaries or inheritance distributions is added.

To demonstrate that the decedent acted improperly and that this new clause was not their true intent, the contesting party will file a trust lawsuit. In the event of a mistake, the estate may be administered under an earlier trust document or the new document may be amended.

Property Dispute

When the ownership of the assets included in the estate is disputed or unclear, a dispute of this kind exists. The document may not have been updated when the real estate was sold, which could be the cause of the issue. When there are instances of shared accounts and assets, it may also be in doubt.


Who Can Start a Trust Dispute?

A direct beneficiary or heir is required in order to dispute a trust in trust litigation. As a result, they either need to be listed in paperwork from the estate planning process when the decedent established a trust, or they need to be directly related by birth or adoption.

However, one is not automatically a trustee just because they are related to someone. If there are several generations of living family members, a distant relative, such as a great-grandchild, will need to demonstrate a direct close link and the decedent’s intention in order to be included. This kind of dispute is most frequently used when there are several different trusts with different beneficiaries listed.


What Are Some Remedies for Trust Disputes?

To settle trust disputes, a variety of remedies are available. Some of these options for resolving disputes are limited by state law, while others can be decided by a majority vote of the trust’s beneficiaries.

Court proceedings or other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) may be required to settle more serious conflicts. As it works to prevent litigation, ADR is usually suggested as a potential option for settling trust conflicts. ADR is usually less formal, more affordable, and takes less time than litigation because these conferences typically encourage parties to settle their issue without going to trial.

Removing the trustee from their position is frequently the first step in resolving disputes surrounding the trustee’s negligent trust administration. The new trustee is then chosen by the trustor as a replacement. 

What is a constructive trust?

A constructive trust may also be mandated by the court. The trustee’s initial poor handling of the trust can be corrected through constructive trust. Furthermore, imagine a court deciding that a trustee misused trust assets for their own gain. In that situation, the trustee can be held accountable and made to fully reimburse the beneficiaries.

Finally, the court may decide to completely or partially void a trust if it is determined by the judge that it was created under duress or deception. The same might be true if the trustor lacked the necessary legal competence to establish the disputed trust.


Call a California Trust Litigation Lawyer Now!

In California, it is crucial to get legal advice when there are disputes between heirs and trust beneficiaries. Trust disputes may have detrimental effects on both the trust and its heirs or beneficiaries, and the trust and its assets could be harmed by careless or dishonest trustees. The Probate Code must be strictly followed, and the documentation must be accurately completed and filed.

The Casiano Law Firm is experienced in court cases involving trust disputes. Attorney Vinny can address any inquiries you may have and help you through each stage of the dispute procedure. He wants to help you make sure that the wishes of your loved one are carried out promptly and appropriately.

Schedule an appointment to discuss your case right away if you want to start the legal procedure of disputing a trust.

Need a Comprehensive Estate Plan & Strategic Estate Litigation Attorney?

With years of experience in Elder Law and Estate Planning, San Diego estate litigation attorney Vinny Casiano helps his clients understand the pros and cons of each strategy to make the best decision for themselves and their families. Finally, he assists his clients in carrying out whatever strategy they have decided is best for them.

Got Probate or Trust Concerns? Get Help NOW!

Whether your concern is about will or trust contests, fiduciaries, or complicated estate plans, San Diego probate and trust litigation attorney Vincent Casiano is here to help. Get high-quality and personalized legal solutions that will address your needs today!

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