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Siblings Contesting a Trust California
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What is Means to Contest a Trust

Change is the only sure thing in life. Once a grantor passes away, siblings may seek to adjust the trust terms in many ways. The result may be disputes, bad blood, and prolonged trust litigation. Call Hess-Verdon’s trust attorney for assistance, guidance, and trust dispute resolution.

Contesting a Trust

California law provides that survivors may contest a trust if certain conditions are met. People may contest a trust as soon as the grantor dies. There is a 120-day window for filing an objection after a trust is admitted to probate. 

Most trust contests hinge on proving that the grantor had no capacity, such as dementia or a stroke, or that the person was under undue influence. 

The validity of trusts is also contested if they do not follow trust provisions. In California, trusts must be legally drafted and signed with two witnesses present. The two witnesses should also sign the document, and neither of them may be listed in it. These provisions may invalidate the trust if they are violated. 

Additionally, it might be that someone had numerous trusts. In some instances, the courts may consider the new trust to be the legal document and that the old trust isn’t. However, the possibility of having two trusts can cause much family confusion and will need to be litigated. A trustor often enters into a blended family scenario, not recognizing that they had a prior trust with the former spouse.  

Inheritance Theft

Sadly, inheritance theft remains a serious problem that often ends badly for families. Also, inheritance scammers are mostly family members – it can destroy family ties. 

Stealing from an heir can take many forms, starting with manipulating their wishes while the bequeather is still alive up until they’re dead and committing theft and embezzlement after their passing. 

In exchange for returning the stolen money or assets to an estate or trust, an abuser who takes from an estate can face civil action. The California Probate Code provides grounds for pursuing punitive damages, double damages, attorney fees, or disinheritance of the abuser. You should consult a probate attorney immediately if you suspect inheritance theft regarding the availability or probability of these recoveries. 

Ways Inheritance Can be Hijacked

Uncollectible Loans

When a relative dies, those he/she loaned money to may claim that the loans were gifts. They refuse to repay, and if there are no loan documents, the chances of recovery are slim. 

Outright thievery

Theft is a classic one. The trustee, power of attorney, or beneficiary of the estate may abuse their powers and divert funds from the estate into their personal accounts.

Sibling disparagement

Sleazy co-heirs may use sibling disempowerment to get more from the estate unfairly. Some heirs focus less on their bonds with one another and more on increasing their share of the estate pie. Using false allegations or accusations against one’s siblings is a common trick that inheritors sometimes use.


Family members or advisors may draft fake wills or amendments to actual Wills so they can receive a larger inheritance share. Sometimes they add or remove zeros to the deceased’s account balance receipts. Women and children are the most victims. 

Inheritance theft California what to do

  • Request comprehensive estate audit and asset valuation
  • Work with a lawyer to find witnesses as early as possible
  • File a formal complaint with the probate court
  • Discuss an informal resolution with the opposing party or their attorney
  • Use legal court processes to resolve disputes
  • If everything else fails, go to trial

How to Deal with Greedy Family Members After a Death

Many family members may display greedy behaviors after losing a loved one. You can minimize conflict and take care of yourself while you process the death of a loved one by:

Compromising creatively

Creativity and cooperation are sometimes necessary. Let’s say there is a favorite watch from Dad that everyone wants. Consider making it a family heirloom that everyone can wear without laying an ownership claim to it.

Talk more, fight less.

Particularly during asset distribution, misunderstandings within families can make grief feel particularly harrowing. Although we can’t control how others talk to us, we can put a healthy tone for discussions about complex topics.

Ask why five times.

Before labeling someone greedy, try to understand their viewpoint. Don’t assume the worst. Someone may be seeking solace in materiality because they’ve realized that we are temporary in nature -that we are all destined to die. Find the reasons and the reasons behind the grounds, then address that.

Trust Attorney: Bring in a third party.

When nothing else works, try mediation. A third party can make the process less emotional by handling the heavy lifting. If that doesn’t work, you may have to resolve the matter in court. Work with an experienced inheritance lawyer.

Call Hess Verdon at (949) 707-7300.

Choosing the Right Trust Estate Litigation Lawyer is Crucial

Hess-Verdon – Right Trust Estate Litigation Lawyer 

When it comes to searching for a Trust Litigation Attorney serving Los Angeles,  Hess-Verdon & Associates is a top Southern California trusts and estate law firm in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels.

Our law firm is well versed in estate planningtrust administration, and trust litigation.

We believe in Aggressive legal representation with a team of experts that protect you, our preferred client, with current tax and estate planning and trust litigation strategies.

To continue, our litigation lawyers have years of extensive experience in strategy, trial preparation, and trial presentation to help you with your case. 

Hess-Verdon welcomes the opportunity to discuss your case, our staffing approaches, qualifications, and rate structures. Our goal is a view toward the successful resolution of Estate and trust-related matters. 


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Trustee & Co-Trustee Not Getting Along

What To Do When A Sibling Contests A Trust

Trust Litigation Overview

With over thirty years of experience in successfully handling all types of trust and estate cases, we can rightfully say that we are the best trust litigation attorneys in Orange County. Here at Hess-Verdon &Associates, we are known for our aggressive legal representation, which has helped us obtain our clients’ best outcomes. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff works hard to enforce the rights of a trustee. Let us make your job a bit easier.

Contact us today to discuss your trust litigation case. 

Are you looking for a trust attorney in the Newport Beach area? When it comes to the practice of Trust and estates, it can be difficult finding an attorney that’s experienced in What To Do When A Sibling Contests A Trust handling your specific issues.

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