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Hess-Verdon & Associates

HESS-VERDON IS THE LEADING ESTATE LITIGATION ATTORNEY LAW FIRM

Let’s go over when you have to litigate a trust because the Trustee has not fulfilled their fiduciary duty. It’s definitely a trying time because the Trustee is probably a family member. As a trustee, you are given powers to manage the estate of the deceased (Trustor). Within the Trust, are instructions explaining how the estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries and heirs.  The Trustee must abide by the wishes of the trustor while staying transparent in their dealings.

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Top Estate Litigation Attorneys Serving
Orange County & Los Angeles

HESS-VERDON IS YOUR #1 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRUST & ESTATE LAW FIRM

(DEEP BENCH COURT TIME)

Nearby Cities: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, and surrounding cities.
Related Practices: Estate & Trust Litigation, Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration.

Estate litigation and options!

Let’s go over when you have to litigate a trust because the Trustee has not fulfilled their fiduciary duty. It’s definitely a trying time because the Trustee is probably a family member. As a trustee, you are given powers to manage the estate of the deceased (Trustor). Within the Trust, are instructions explaining how the estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries and heirs.  The Trustee must abide by the wishes of the trustor while staying transparent in their dealings.

The duty of the Trustee is the following:

  1. Keep transparent at all times: All bookkeeping kept up-to-date with annual tax returns when necessary. 
  2. Beneficiary’s rights are above the wants of the Trustee:  Normally, because the Trustee is a family member, they have to have an outlook to continually stay neutral, which at times is hard. Therefore, the Trustee should seek legal counsel as part of their fiduciary duty.  
  3. Protect Estate Assets:  Protecting the estate assets is crucial if the Trustee needs to show the court their due diligence. There are times where a family member may be living in a property that is within the Trustor’s estate. Keeping a level head as a Trustee is very important because if the property has to be sold, it can be trying times. As a Trustor/Grantor, choose a person who has qualities that will ensure a successful outcome is essential.

Note: There are more duties, such as paying debts, taxes, investing, selling properties, and more. How to stay out of litigation? Both parties, i.e., the Trustee and beneficiary, must keep transparent and stay reasonable in their expectations.

What are some reasons and remedies to eliminate litigation?

Well, for starters, if you are a Trustee, you have some initial moments to get all the burial arrangements and funeral completed. During that time, there may be instructions from the Trustor/Grantor as to their funeral arrangements. So, get the Trust document right away from the Trust attorney.

After settling the funeral arrangements, etc., have a meeting with all the beneficiaries and heirs described in the Trust and share all pertinent information. The objective is to allow the beneficiaries the ability to contact the Trustee when needed. As a beneficiary, you have to understand the Trustee is busy administering the estate. Therefore, you have to be “reasonable” in your timeline expectations. The Trustee must respond, however, and if they don’t, then you may need to file a petition in court. 

Now, it is crucial to have a Trust Attorney who can guide you to ensure you are standing on legal grounds. Our recommendation is to interview 2-3 attorneys because litigation may take time. It’s important however if you want to protect your family legacy. Also, some of the best attorneys can quickly establish your best course of action, including if its worth pursuing litigation. It’s essential to select staff of attorneys who have time in the court and have litigated your type of breach of fiduciary duty.

Who has more rights, a Trustee, or a Beneficiary?

The question should really be what “rights” does a Trustee have and what “rights” does a beneficiary have.  You see, the rights of both are a fundamental right in that the Trustee has a fiduciary duty to the Trust and to the Beneficiaries to be transparent, and the Beneficiary stays reasonable with expectations based on timelines.

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stars 5 Top Estate Litigation Attorney.  What are your Options?

“Absolutely top notch firm for handling all your estate planning matters.”

Dean Williams

Client Since 1995

stars 5 Top Estate Litigation Attorney.  What are your Options?

“Definitely a firm that will “fight to the finish.”

Frances Gruben

Client Since 2010

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“I have been working with this firm since 1994; you can’t beat a firm like this, that is so ethical and competent.”

Dixie Fisher

Client Since 1994

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