Trust Petition Attorneys


Trust petitions are a crucial part of ensuring proper trust management, but correctly drafting and filing a trust petition requires an experienced attorney. RMO Lawyers has a lengthy and successful track record in representing clients in trust-related legal matters, as well as filing and defending countless trust petitions 

What is A Trust Petition?

A trust petition  is a formal court filing calling for court invention calling for court intervention in a trust administration case. These petitions call for court intervention to provide guidance on specific procedures or approve actions, to ensure that any steps taken in the interest of the trust have legal backing.

Various petitions can apply to a trust or estate administration case. Petitions serve various purposes to ensure trusts are managed correctly. This can involve anything from asking the court to remove a trustee to seeking more guidance on what to do next.

 The most common trust petitions include:

  • Petition for instruction – A petition for instruction calls upon the court to clarify a fiduciary’s duties or offer guidance on how to proceed in instances where there is a dispute or ambiguity surrounding the trust.
  • Petition to approve acts – This petition calls for guidance from the court into certain actions, like selling property tied to a trust or making an investment.
  • Petition to appoint a successor trustee – If a trustee resigns or is removed from their role, a petition to appoint a successor trustee involves the court to add a new trustee into their place.
  • Petition for removal – Under California Probate Code §17200, a petition for removal is necessary to call upon the court to remove a trustee for misconduct or a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Heggstad or 850 Petition – A Heggstad petition adds an asset to a trust that wasn’t originally included in the planning documents.

 Drafting a trust petition and following the appropriate procedures prior to presenting it to the court can be complex. Our experienced attorneys at RMO can ensure that a trust petition is handled properly to uphold the interests of the trust.

What Does a Trust Petition Attorney Do?

A trust petition attorney has several responsibilities when filing a petition, such as preparing the appropriate documentation and ensuring effective communication with the court. Our trust petition attorneys at RMO provide support in all the following areas.

Legal Experience in Trust Law

Trust law is a unique field with considerable nuance, so navigating the trust petition process requires extensive legal experience. Our trust litigation attorneys at RMO Lawyers have over two decades of experience in trust law and drafting trust petitions, so we can provide appropriate guidance in the process.

Petition Preparation and Filing

A trust petition requires designated legal procedures for drafting, preparing, and filing the petition, which are crucial for ensuring the petition is fit to be presented to the court. Our attorneys at RMO Lawyers handle every aspect of this process to ensure legitimacy before the court and increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Preparing Trust Petitions

Preparing a trust petition is a detailed process that requires specific drafting requirements to state the nature of the issue in question, provide background information, and seek specific relief from the court. RMO Lawyers can support clients in preparing a trust petition to alleviate some of the potential burden and improve the chances of a favorable outcome.

Objecting to Trust Petitions

It’s possible for interested parties to object to a filed trust petition if they disagree with the action it suggests, such as in cases calling for trustee removal. Our team can represent clients on both sides of an objection to a petition in order to prioritize the best interests of the trust.

Representation in Court Proceedings

Trust petitions may face objections that require court proceedings to determine whether the petition is the best path forward. If any aspect of your case goes to court, we can provide invaluable representation to protect your interests and support through alternative dispute resolution methods.

Client-Centered Guidance

Experienced attorneys should center the client in every step of the trust petition process—this includes understanding the goals of the interested party and ensuring the best interests of the trust. Our team here at RMO Lawyers will maintain transparency throughout the process so that there is no confusion or ambiguity, ensuring that you receive personalized attention and a strategic approach tailored to your needs, ultimately leading to a favorable outcome that not only benefits you financially but also provides peace of mind.

Maximizing Trust Benefits

Trust petitions can require swift action to ensure the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries. We work diligently to draft petitions in a timely manner in an effort to get the court to view them and act sooner. A trust petition attorney works to ensure that the interests of the decedent outlined in the trust are front and center.

When Should I Contact A Trust Petition Attorney?

Trust petitions are necessary for approving motions through the court to ensure all actions surrounding a trust are in line with the estate planning documents and the intentions of the decedent. Without a skilled and experienced attorney, it can be challenging to file these petitions while following the appropriate legal processes and procedures. 

You should contact a trust petition attorney when:

  • You have concerns surrounding the conduct or capacity of a trustee
  • The trustee is not communicating with you other others
  • You need to manage the assets in a trust
  • You object to a petition presented by another interested party
  • There is ambiguity in a trust’s intentions

If you have any questions surrounding trust petitions or how to navigate the process, schedule a consultation with our team to learn more. Whether you are a trustee or a beneficiary seeking court intervention, we can provide you with important guidance and support.

Our Case Results

RMO has a proven track record of protecting people and defending legacies.

Summary Adjudication of Disinherited Beneficiary’s Trust Contest
Swiftly secured the dismissal of a trust contest of a disgruntled, disinherited trust beneficiary on a motion after strategically allowing the trust contest period to expire before serving a notice of proposed action to distribute trust assets to the trust’s remaining beneficiaries and nothing to the disinherited beneficiary.
Secured Family’s Business Legacy
Representing the successor family trustee, secured the generational family business for the decedent’s heirs by acquiring from a disgruntled beneficiary their interest in the family business on extremely favorable terms that will allow the family to continue operating the family business for future generations to come.
Defense of Financial Elder Abuse Claim Against Surviving Spouse Trustee
Successfully defended a surviving spouse trustee against financial elder abuse and other claims made by family members who said she had fraudulently transferred assets to herself from her late husband’s trust and estate.
Prevented Trustee Removal for Badly-Lawyered Trust Accounting
Staved off suspension, removal and surcharge for a trustee who had failed to properly or timely provide court-ordered trust accountings to trust beneficiaries and was staring down an imminent deadline, as well as suspension, removal and surcharge.
Trustee Removal for Fraud
Neutralized and secured removal of a hostile co-trustee who was attempting to bilk our client’s trust of millions of dollars through a series of fabricated claims.
Thieving Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Secured removal of a thieving co-trustee daughter whose malfeasance left her own mother destitute and unable to pay her bills, including recovery of the stolen assets, attorney fees and costs.
Trust Beneficiary Dispute Squashed & Partition Avoided
Swooped in on behalf of an institutional trustee after years of protracted litigation to secure a decision from the Los Angeles probate court to end a years-long dispute between feuding siblings over the distribution of their parents’ estate, avoiding distribution of assets in-kind, which would have only resulted in partition.
Sub-Trust Allocations Defended
Client’s mother survived step-dad and succeeded him as trustee of their family trust. After mom passed, step-dad’s children alleged she had improperly allocated trust assets to favor her survivor’s trust, which went to our client, over the marital trust, which went to step-dad’s children. Using historic appraisals and valuations, demonstrated the disputed allocation was reasonable, resolving the dispute.
Inept Trustee Removed & Client Appointed Successor Trustee to Save Estate
Non-responsive and ineffective trustee who had done little to nothing to administer the trust or protect trust assets from waste following decedent’s passing was removed and our client appointed as successor trustee by the probate court, avoiding further damage.
Racist Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Removed and obtained surcharge of a non-beneficiary family trustee who hurled racial epthets at our client, refused to account, and tried to sell the house intended for our sole trust beneficiary client out of spite, securing the home for our client and her family.
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Who Can Hire a Trust Petition Attorney?

Anyone involved in a trust-related matter can file a trust petition to ensure proper trust administration. At RMO Lawyers, we support the following clients in the trust petition process.


Beneficiaries might want to file a trust petition to take action in the trust’s best interest or challenge how the trust assets are being managed. They could also raise objections to petitions that others have put forward. Additionally, beneficiaries may pursue the removal of a trustee by way of a petition. RMO works with beneficiaries to draft and file petitions that fulfill legal requirements, as well as provide representation in any potential disputes.


Trustees may file a trust petition to ensure any actions they take are approved by the court. Trustees may determine it is in their best interest to resign from their role, and a may be their ticket to resignation. Our lawyers at RMO can help trustees determine whether these actions have appropriate legal standing and provide support in the preparation and filing process.


Individuals who establish a trust may seek the support of a trust petition attorney to modify a trust’s terms, clarify any areas of ambiguity, or seek the resolution of disputes surrounding the trust’s administration. Our attorneys support trustors and settlors in drafting trust petitions to make any necessary changes and ensure their intentions are clear.


Successor trustees may file a petition to remove a trustee, seek instructions for important actions, or address disputes surrounding a trust. RMO Lawyers can support successor trustees in this process and ensure all actions align with the trust’s intentions.


Creditors may benefit from a trust petition attorney if they disagree with a trustee’s administration of a trust or want a trustee to take action sooner so they can secure their stake in a trust. Our team at RMO can represent creditors in trust petitions as they seek their rightful distribution.


Other parties that can benefit from a trust petition include conservators, guardians, or organizations listed as beneficiaries that may object to the administration of a trust. We can support each of these parties in understanding their concerns and drafting a trust petition to seek appropriate action.


Be advised that the RMO Client Relations Team will reach out prior to your scheduled time, as our policy requires that we gather additional information concerning the parties to your case before we can confirm your consultation. In the event that we are unable to reach you, regrettably, we will need to cancel your requested consultation.

Communication Disclaimer

Please note that communications by you to RMO LLP or any of its lawyers through this website do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm. Do not send any privileged or confidential information to the firm through this website or otherwise until instructed in writing from us to do so. 

FAQs About Trust Petition Law

After a trust petition is filed, interested parties are notified, and responses or objections may be submitted. If disputes persist, a hearing or trial is scheduled where both sides present arguments and evidence. The court then issues a decision, potentially modifying the trust or addressing related issues. Compliance with the court’s ruling is required, with the option to appeal if parties disagree. Throughout the entire process, parties can engage in alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or settlement negotiations to resolve matters.

The Heggstad Petition is a legal remedy used to clarify ambiguities in trust documents. It allows a trustee or beneficiary to seek court approval to interpret the trust’s terms when there is uncertainty or ambiguity. This petition is named after the case of Estate of Heggstad v. Heggstad, which established the legal precedent for this type of petition.

Typically, trustees or beneficiaries of the trust can file a Heggstad Petition if they believe the trust document contains ambiguities that need clarification.

Once the court issues a ruling on a Heggstad Petition, the trustee and beneficiaries must comply with the court’s interpretation of the trust terms. This decision provides clarity on how the trust should be administered and distributed moving forward.


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