Home / Practice Areas / Trust Contests California Trust Contests Attorney A Trust Litigation Attorney Can Help You Contest a Trust 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. Why Contest a Trust? 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: The belief that the settlor was not of sound mind at the time the trust document was made. In other words, the settlor lacked sufficient mental capacity at the time the estate plan was written. The belief that the settlor may have been unduly influenced by a third party. An example of undue influence is when a care provider compels a settlor to change their trust, giving everything to them instead of the original beneficiaries. When the settlor is threatened or coerced into changing their trust. The belief that the trust document does not meet California requirements. Some trust disputes revolve around the intricacies of how the trust document is worded or signed, and whether it may be somehow inherently defective. The belief that the trust was forged; that it was not signed by the settlor. The belief that the trust in question is not the most recent trust document and is therefore invalid. The language used in the trust does not make sense for some reason. The belief that the trust runs against some personal freedoms of beneficiaries, such as excluding someone if they remarry, divorce, or change religions. 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. How to Contest a Trust 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. Contact Us Full Name*Email* Phone*How Can We Help? Read More Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search. Search for: Videos How do the roles of a trustee vs. a successor trustee differ? What are the duties of a trustee? What is a revocable trust vs. an irrevocable trust? What is a trust? « Previous 1 2 Seeking the Help of a Trust Litigator in California 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. Schedule a consultation by calling (800) 840-1998.