California Trust Litigation
Litigation may result when trust funds are mismanaged or when disputes arise as to how certain terms and conditions in a trust instrument are to be interpreted. Often, beneficiaries and trustees do not agree on the manner of estate distribution. If you or your family object to the administration of a trust, or if you believe the trustee has breached his or her fiduciary duty, you should contact a trust attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Hugh Duff Robertson P.C., our experienced attorneys will work to protect your rights.
What Is A Trust?
A trust is a written document where a person or entity (the trustee) manages the property of another person (the trustor). The document can be created while the trustor is still alive, called a living or irrevocable trust, or used as a substitute for a will (a revocable trust) to distribute assets upon death. Like a will, the validity of a trust can be contested and the trustee can be sued for mismanagement.
Types of Actions in Trust Litigation
The number of lawsuits contesting the validity of trusts has risen dramatically. Some of the grounds for contest include the following:
- Beneficiary disputes: for example, disputes over what assets should be in a trust estate, their distribution, or who is entitled to remainder interests
- Trust accounting: if the trustee failed to give an accounting or if the accounting is objectionable because it is incomplete or inaccurate
- Validity of the trust document: includes improper trust formation and claims of lack of capacity, undue influence, coercion; fraud or duress
- Breach of fiduciary duty: Trustees are considered fiduciaries under California Probate law and must administer a trust with reasonable care, skill, and caution under the prevailing circumstances. The standard of care is that of a prudent person acting in a similar situation. Trustees also have a duty of loyalty and impartiality, as well as a duty to avoid conflicts of interest and to control, preserve, and make the trust productive.
Remedies In Trust Litigation
In trust litigation, remedies often depend upon the nature of the dispute or malfeasance and the beneficiary’s goals. In fashioning a remedy, the court may:
- Compel a distribution of trust assets in accordance with the trust provisions.
- Remove or replace the trustee.
- Order a full accounting of the trust’s finances and transactions.
- Reform the trust in alignment with the trustor’s wishes.
- Hold the trustee financially liable for any violation of fiduciary duty that causes harm to a beneficiary of the trust.
California Trust Litigation Attorney
If you believe that a trust is being mismanaged or you disagree with its administration, contact a trust attorney as soon as possible. Trusts should be handled correctly under the law and when a trust is improperly administered, steps should be taken to protect your rights. The first step to take is to call the Law Office of Hugh Duff Robertson P.C., where our experienced trust attorneys will evaluate your case and work with you to secure a just remedy. To schedule a free consultation with the trust litigation lawyers at the Law Office of Hugh Duff Robertson P.C., call us at 310.824.0467 or complete our online form.