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You may have heard about contesting, or challenging, wills but do you realize that a trust can also be contested. Although the law allows for this type of formal objection against a trust’s validity, it is not a straightforward process. For this reason, most people who want to contest a trust get help from a trust litigation attorney in California. They well-versed in these matters and know how to maximise your value while avoiding landmines along the way.
Not everyone can contest a trust. Only beneficiaries of the trust and heirs of the settlor have the right to contest the terms of the trust or its formation. Typically, these people know who they are because they have already been given advance notice from the trustee, per California Probate Code Section 16061.7. This list may include people who were not necessarily named but would inherit from the trust if the trust author (known as the settlor) died without a will or trust, such as immediate family members.
A trust can be contested for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:
It should be noted that just because a beneficiary does not like the outcome of a trust, the trust can still be deemed valid. Sometimes, interested parties are angered or hurt because they did not receive as much as they expected, or perhaps anything at all. Although this alone is not grounds to start a trust dispute, it may suggest that something else is wrong.
One of the most challenging aspects of contesting a trust is that the burden of proof lies with the petitioner. Competent attorneys may know how to shift that burden, however. The experience can be so emotional, therefore, an attorney-client relationship is helpful in objectively finding and submitting the right evidence to the courts. That way, the petitioner can be helpful as a represented client without shouldering the brunt of the paperwork, legwork, negotiating, and litigating.
Contesting a trust in California involves filing a lawsuit and any applicable documents. Taken together, the documents will provide the basis for the case. Trust beneficiaries who wish to contest the trust typically seek representation from a knowledgeable trust contest law firm to maximize their chances of winning.
If a court determines that all or part of a trust is invalid, the court will intervene to make it right.
If you are the beneficiary of a trust and you feel that there are issues with the trust document, please fill out a form for communication with our team members. Alternatively, call (800) 840-1998 to arrange an initial consultation with a litigation trust attorney at The Legacy Lawyers, P.C.