A California trust litigation lawyer can help you and other beneficiaries of a trust who believe that you have been harmed as a result of the actions completed by a trustee. If there are questions about the trust, its validity, its interpretation or the actions of an individual trustee, these should all be handled by an experienced California trust litigation attorney.
When sitting down to discuss potential probate disputes with a trust litigation attorney in California, you want to know that your lawyer has ample experience in this field. Trust litigation is generally described as civil lawsuits filed in California probate court and can include significant issues around a trustee’s behavior or a trust itself. Trust litigation has to do with multiple causes of actions or claims but usually falls into one of the following categories:
- Trustee removal
- Petition for instructions
- Dispute between co-trustees
- Disputed trust accountings
- Breach of fiduciary duty
All of these are serious issues that require the legal insight of an attorney who has been practicing in this field for some time. Whether you are the trustee who has been accused of wrongdoing or a beneficiary who is concerned about protecting your inheritance, you deserve to know your rights and how to proceed.
Reasons to Hire a Trust Litigation Attorney
In California, hiring a trust litigation attorney is strongly recommended if you find yourself in the midst of a legal dispute. Examples include:
- You are a beneficiary of a trust and worried about a trustee’s honesty or competence
- You are currently serving as a trustee and have been accused of misconduct but are not sure how to respond to an unreasonable or demanding beneficiary
- You are currently serving as a trustee and a beneficiary has asked you for an accounting
- You are a co-trustee who is having difficulty working with the other trustee.
- You are a beneficiary to a trust but a trustee is refusing to answer your questions
- You are a trustee who has made a mistake and is concerned about how to fix it
In all of these circumstances you need to understand the legal elements of your case as well as possible opportunities to proceed. Being accused of breach of fiduciary duty is a serious matter. California probate code outlines that a trustee has the duty to account, maintain confidentiality, administer the trust according to its terms, not to delegate certain functions, loyalty, the duty to furnish trust terms upon request, responsibility to furnish information to a beneficiary who has made a reasonable request, the duty of impartiality and the duty to avoid conflicts of interest. When a trustee has been accused of violating one of these terms, this can be quite serious and could give rise to a claim for breach of fiduciary duty.
Other common types of estate litigation have to do with disputes over trust accountings. Beneficiaries might suspect that a trustee has breached fiduciary duty but are unable to prove it. Likewise, a trustee who has been wrongfully accused by a suspicious or unreasonable beneficiary has a vested interest in retaining legal counsel to represent their rights. In either of these circumstances, both parties should maintain their own legal counsel to ensure that someone is representing their best interests in court. If you find yourself in these situations you deserve to have the support of an attorney who has practiced in this field for many years.