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 must file a lawsuit.

So again, if the Family Trust is one where the Trustmaker is still alive, then you must 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 must 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. 

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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.

Trustee Removal

Are you a Trustee or Beneficiary where protection of the Trustors wishes are being challenged and causing family disputes?

Develop strategies on preempting a Trust dispute and discover What You Need to Know About the Trustee Removal Process

Hess Verdon has a deep bench and knows both sides of the equation to remove or suspend a Trustee or to safeguard the Trustee from a frivolous legal process. Hess-Verdon top litigators will help you stay on track!

 

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Beneficiary is attacking me

Attacked by a beneficiary who objects to how you, a Trustee, or Administrator, is handling an estate?

Prevent Trustees from Making Some Common Mistakes. 

Duties | Delays | Choices | Distributions

Timing on each one is critical to avoid litigation

Hess-Verdon has over 30 years of dealing with Beneficiary and trustee disputes. Let us review your situation. You’ll be glad you did. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

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Contesting a Trust

 Are You Considering Contesting a Trust or the most recent amendment? Was there a capacity issue or undue influence?

Be Careful when contesting a trust and know the elements it takes to protect the trust assets. Reserve your rights before Statute of limitations happen!

Hess-Verdon works hard to resolve Trust and Estate issues and preserve the estate by minimizing costly litigation. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

 

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What Is Trust Litigation?

Trust litigation is where a Beneficiary or Trustee or even an heir of a Trust feel their legal rights are trampled upon and need legal counsel to represent them in court. Typically the trust litigation is between the Trustee vs. the Beneficiary/heir. Many issues can arise, and mostly due to transparency, i.e., the beneficiary feels the Trustee may be self-dealing. Self-dealing is where the Trustee puts their needs and wants before the Beneficiaries. Now, the Trustee knows they have the fiduciary duty to put everyone above their self-interest first and to comply with the wishes of the Trustor. 

Now, after legal discovery, both parties will be asked to do the following:

  • Mediate
  • Arbitrate
  • Litigate

Trust litigation is by far the most costly and can drain the estate assets. If you are a Trustee and or Beneficiary, best to keep communication open at all times with proper bookkeeping.  

Schedule an appointment today. Our specialized team is ready to assist you.

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Our knowledgeable and aggressive actions are necessary to ensure the trustor maintains their wishes on how the estate should be administered.

What are some common trust disputes: 

When we meet with clients, we will discuss Trust disputes as well and how to avoid them. Our team of attorneys will cover the beneficiary perspective and Trustee(s)’ aspect and the steps for both parties.

A Person may Bring a Cause of Action for the Following Reasons:

  • Trust Contests
  • Disputes involving interpretation of sophisticated estate plans
  • Disputes in Probate Court
  • Discussions regarding Trust Administration
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims and Ethical Concerns
  • Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse Claims
  • Business and Asset Valuation Disputes
  • Contested Conservatorships
  • Professional negligence and breach of duty defense for fiduciaries;
  • Petitions to include omitted assets into the trust (Heggstad Petitions);
  • Probate Code § 11700 proceedings to determine inheritance rights;
  • Property and entitlement disputes;
  • Recovery of lost, excluded, and disputed property (Probate Code § 850).
  • Trust Accounting disputes
  • Kinship proceedings
  • Surviving spouse’s right of election
  • Fiduciary litigation and removal proceedings
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My Family is Suing me

Are you being sued by a family member over a Trust or Will?

From threats to harassment to emotional distress, many people’s knee-jerk reaction is to sue and has become increasingly common. 

There are many options to resolve a family dispute in court and out of court. 

With over 30 years, Hess-Verdon has handled Trust and Estate Lawsuits and dealing with family dynamics. Do not panic; Hess-Verdon is ready to help you today.

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Trustee Delaying my Inheritance

Past the reasonable “time period,” and Trustee has yet to make the required distributions?

Diagnose the stalling tactics from an uncooperative Trustee and UNCOVER Steps to Take to Get the Trustee to Distribute Your Inheritance.

Hess-Verdon, for over 30 years, has worked on both sides of the coin. Receive counsel on staying on the right side of the courts. Seeing thousands of problems facing Trustees and Beneficiaries has allowed us to assist and complete the wishes of the Trustor/Executor. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

  

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Trustee Deadlines

Up against or even missed a deadline? Know which ones are upcoming?

Shore up your fiduciary responsibilities 

Conflict of Interest | Distribution of Funds | Upcoming deadlines

And put yourself back on track and avoid a trustee removal petition

Time is ticking, and seeking guidance from a Hess-Verdon Attorney is your attorney source to know protect your family’s legacy. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

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Changed Trust Before Death

Was a Trust changed while under the care of a brother, sister, or institution and possibly been influenced?

 Act fast and attain a strategy on resolving fraud, forgery, undue influence, while protecting your rights and staying on the right side of the court.

 Hess-Verdon & Associates helps seek proper legal advice and provides you with the sound direction you need to understand what constitutes an invalid Trust or amendment. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

 

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We are here to help!

Emotions Can Run High in Disputes Between Family Members, Especially in Matters Involving Money.

Need a Second Opinion?

Are you feeling your attorney is not answering your questions? 

Up against a deadline | Going over Budget | Case Taking too Long 

These are just a few reasons why you need a second opinion.

Hess-Verdon has a deep bench experience and works with the courts. If you have questions that your attorney is not answering, or the litigation has taken unexpected twists and turns, Hess-Verdon has handled Trust and Estate Lawsuits for over 30 years. Do not panic; Hess-Verdon is ready to help you today.

 

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Truly exceptional law firm! They provided concise, decisive legal assistance during unanticipated events during estate proceedings. They made a bad situation better. Our family will always be grateful. There is no one I would rather have than Hess-Verdon & Associates representing my family.

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Truly exceptional law firm! They provided concise, decisive legal assistance during unanticipated events during estate proceedings. They made a bad situation better. Our family will always be grateful. There is no one I would rather have than Hess-Verdon & Associates representing my family.

Wade Shannon

Client Since 2014

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