While you technically cannot sue a family trust, you can sue the trustee of a family trust if you have a claim to assets held by that trust, or if you think that the trustee is mismanaging or stealing from the trust. You can also challenge the legitimacy of a trust if you have reason to believe that the person who created the trust didn’t have the mental capacity to do so or the trust was the result of undue influence by a caregiver, friend or family member. In all these cases, you can take legal action. These legal actions would more correctly be considered Trust Litigation, Trust Disputes, or Contesting a Trust.
Any action needs to be filed against the Trustee, the person in charge of the trust. The trust is just a legal entity. It has no ability to respond to any action without the Trustee(s) taking action.
The first thing to do is contact an experienced trust litigation attorney. A free consulation will allow you to ask questions and determine the relative strengths and weaknesses, potential costs and timeframes.
Although an unpopular answer, the correct one is that “it depends.” The relative complexity of your case, the number of parties and claims involved, the passage of time, assets involved, etc. all mean that the case is likely to cost more. The relative resistance anticipated from the party to be sued also means higher costs. Fortunately, a good trust litigation attorney will be able to help you understand the value of your case and should be able to help you structure a financial arrangement that makes sense for you and the law firm. Don’t let your fear that you “can’t afford it” stop you from pursuing a claim. There are many ways to structure an engagement. Just ask.
We recommend finding an experienced trust attorney familiar with the county probate court in the county where the trust is located. For example, if the beneficiary lives in San Diego, yet the trust is in Los Angeles, we recommend working with a trust lawyer in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles trust lawyer will generally be more familiar with the Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Division, versus an out of state attorney.
RMO LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Orange County, San Diego, Kansas City, Miami, and communities throughout California, Florida, Missouri and Kansas. Our founder, Scott E. Rahn has been named “Top 100 – Trust and Estate Litigation” by SuperLawyers, Trusts and Estates Litigator of the Year, and Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Trusts and Estates. For a free consultation, call (424) 320-9444 or visit: https://rmolawyers.com