Trust litigation becomes necessary when disputes arise during the organized distribution of property from one generation to another. Typically, a trust is constructed in such a way that instructions are clearly stated. However, despite a well-crafted trust document being in place, legal issues can and do still come up, requiring the services of a trust litigation attorney.
There are many reasons why a legal challenge may take place:
The person who created the trust lacked legal authority to do so. This could challenge the validity of the entire document. Closely related to this, a person could lack the mental capacity to execute a trust agreement. An argument based on challenging the executor’s state of mind requires substantial proof to win in court.
The creator of the trust was coerced. Through undue influence, a person creating a trust may have been led to distribute assets a certain way that could be viewed as out of the ordinary, denying the maker of the free will required to ensure the document is valid. In some cases, this can be considered a case of financial elder abuse.
Breach of fiduciary responsibilities. A fiduciary has a legal responsibility to act in accordance with the directions laid out in the trust. When this does not happen, a fiduciary could be considered in breach of the trust, leaving them open to a legal challenge.
Forgery. Some documents are flat out forged, leaving open the possibility of not only a civil challenge, but a criminal issue as well.
Trust litigation in California is complicated and may require several separate legal actions based on related, but separate claims. An attorney with broad-based estate, trust and probate experience will be needed to efficiently resolve many types of issues that could spring up when trust litigation first becomes a likely possibility.
Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.