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Getting Answers About Trust Litigation

Trust and estate litigation issues are commonly complicated and can leave those involved with a lot of questions about the creation, administration, and execution of trusts. At the Walnut Creek Office of Morrill Law, we are proud to answer these and other questions for our clients. Our lawyers know the challenges of these issues, and we are committed to helping our clients however we can, including by answering difficult questions.

Common Trust Litigation Questions

When dealing with trust litigation, many common questions arise about how trusts operate, the responsibilities of trustees, and the rights of beneficiaries. Understanding these fundamental aspects is crucial for anyone involved in a trust dispute. Here, we address some of the most frequently asked questions that our firm encounters, highlighting the importance of having knowledgeable legal support in these matters.

How does a trust work?

A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustor or settlor (the person creating the trust) passes on assets to their designated beneficiaries. A trustor can create many different types of trusts, including revocable and irrevocable, to control the details surrounding asset distribution, tax considerations, and asset protection.

What duties does a California trustee owe to beneficiaries?

In California, trustees owe beneficiaries a duty of loyalty, prudence, and impartiality. A trustee needs to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, defend the trust assets and not engage in conflicts of interests. Trustees also need to keep the beneficiaries informed about the details of trust administration.

What if a trustee is not communicating with beneficiaries?

California trustees are legally required to keep beneficiaries informed. If a trustee does not communicate important updates or information with the beneficiaries, the beneficiaries can take legal action to defend their best interests. We can review these situations to confirm what options are available.

Can beneficiaries remove a trustee?

Yes, beneficiaries can petition the court to remove a trustee if they believe the trustee has breached their fiduciary duties or is otherwise unfit to administer the trust. By filing a petition, beneficiaries can seek to remove a trustee if the grounds for their petition are valid.

Can trustees use trust assets to pay attorney’s fees and court costs?

A trustee can use the assets in a trust to pay for attorney fees and court expenses that are the direct result of any administration of the trust. It is important to note that these expenses need to be related to the best interests of the trust and the beneficiaries and may otherwise cause grounds for removal.

Can trust beneficiaries use trust assets to pay their attorney’s fees and court costs?

It is more common that beneficiaries pay their own legal fees and court costs, but it is possible for a court to order reimbursement for beneficiary expenses if the costs are in the best interest of the trust. It is best to consult with an attorney to confirm what costs may qualify for reimbursement.

Why is it important to hire an attorney for a trust dispute?

The guidance of a skilled lawyer can help you navigate legal procedures, understand the duties of a fiduciary, and make your voice heard while defending your rights. We are here to help you however we can, either as a trustee or beneficiary, to review trust documentation, gather evidence in your litigation, and pursue the outcome you deserve.

How do I know if I have a valid case?

It can be challenging to know whether you have a valid claim or dispute that warrants legal action. Learn more about how to determine if you have a case.

What are resolutions and damages?

Resolutions are the outcomes or settlements reached to resolve disputes or conflicts among the involved parties. Damages are the monetary compensation awarded to beneficiaries or aggrieved parties. Learn more about how resolutions and damages work in trust and estate litigation.

Seek Expert Trust Litigation Support

Trust disputes can be emotionally charged and legally complex. If you find yourself embroiled in a trust litigation matter, it’s crucial to have a seasoned legal team on your side.

When you need guidance through your estate and trust litigation matters, contact our office today. Call us at 925-255-0633 or email us here to get the information and guidance you need through every step of your litigation issues.