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Contesting a Family Trust
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Can a Family Trust be Contested, and how?

Our Orange County trust litigation lawyers focus on helping trustees, beneficiary, and heirs in the event there is a trust contest. Our Orange County Law firm focuses primarily on trust and estates disputes based upon undue duress, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, and other estate litigation matters.

When it comes to a family Trust, and whether it can be contested, the first questions would be the following:

  1. Is the Family Trust a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
  2. Can you contest a Trust if the Settlor/ Grantor is still alive?
  3. Is there any issue with the Successor Trustee?  
  4. What are your grounds for contesting a Trust?

Can a Family Trust Be Contested

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Can a Family Trust be Contested

When it comes to a family Trust, and whether it can be contested, the first questions would be the following:

  1. Is the Family Trust a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
  2. Can you contest a Trust if the Settlor/ Grantor is still alive?
  3. Is there any issue with the Successor Trustee?  
  4. What are your grounds for contesting a Trust?

Contesting a Trust

The above questions are just a few questions to go over with a Trust Attorney. So let’s start with the most asked question. “”If the Grantor/Settlor/TrustMaker is still alive and it’s a Living revocable Trust, as a beneficiary, can I contest the trust?” You have no say in the matter as long as the Trustor is of sound mind, and no other underhanded event has taken place. Note: The Trustmaker can even dissolve the Trust! 

Now, here is where it gets convoluted. Negatively influencing the Trustmaker where there was undue influence can be a reason to sue the Trust. Where forgeries may exist, if you can prove it via signature authentication, then you can sue the Trust. Yes, a revocable Trust is contestable, and you will need to file a lawsuit.

So again, if the Family Trust is one where the Trustmaker is still alive, then you need to prove the following:

  • The Trustor is not of right mind: Dementia is a factor, for example.
  • The Trust is defective: Under state law, the signing of the Trust document shall be signed in the presence of two witnesses, signed by the two witnesses, and that the two witnesses are not beneficiaries of the Trust.
  • Undue Influence: There was pressure applied on the Trustor to act out of character.

Can a Revocable Trust be Contested

Let’s go over when a family trust can be contested.  

A quick note:  Have an expert Trust Litigation Attorney help you before commencing to create a stir with the Trustee.  

There are provisions, like the “no contest provision,” which states that if you contest the Trust, and you lose, you will be disinherited in full. For example, if you were to get $10,000.00 as a beneficiary or heir, and you lose the contest in court, you will receive $0.00. Now, this is not to say to give up if you know something is not right; for example, you feel there was undue influence on your family member. Undue influence is an act of influencing the Trustmaker in a direction they would not have taken but felt compelled due to some unforeseen threat.

With all that said, A Trust can be contested by petitioning the court to invalidate the Trust.  

How to Keep a Family Trust from being contested

In California, when a Trustmaker dies, the revocable Trust becomes an Irrevocable Trust straight away, and a Successor Trustee takes over per the Trust document. The Successor Trustee has a fiduciary duty to keep all beneficiaries and heirs up-to-date on the Trust Administration process. 

What are some reasons a family trust can be contested?

A Family Trust, which includes a revocable and irrevocable Trusts are contestable. When the Successor Trustee has taken over, there is an allotted time that beneficiaries have to contest the Trust. Make sure you are within your time limits to fight the Trust. A Trust Attorney can help you, at a minimum, understand your next few steps. It’s highly advisable to be “reasonable” throughout the process to ensure you stay on the right side of the courts. 

Choosing the Right Trust Estate Litigation Lawyer is Crucial

Searching for an Orange County Trust Litigation attorney Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the most knowledgable and most sophisticated trusts and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels.

Our legal team of Trust Attorneys in Orange County, are well versed in estate planning, trust administration, and trust litigation.

Our viewpoint is the following:  Aggressive legal representation with a team of experts that protect you, our preferred client, with current tax and estate planning strategies.

Our litigation team has spent years acquiring extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy, and trial presentation to help you with your specific case. 

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs, our qualifications, staffing approaches, and rate structures with a view toward the successful resolution of Estateand trust-related matters.

Learn more about our Living Trust Attorneys.

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Can A Family Trust Be Contested, And The Options!

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Can A Family Trust Be Contested, And The Options!

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Can A Family Trust Be Contested, And The Options!

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Can A Family Trust Be Contested, And The Options!

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Can A Family Trust Be Contested, And The Options!

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