Trust & Probate Litigation

It is often difficult to find attorneys experienced in trusts and estates with proven litigation skills, or a talented litigator with substantial knowledge in estate, trust and related taxation matters.

We believe that our firm offers one of the strongest and most sophisticated trust, estate and probate litigation practice groups in the State of California, at both the trial and appellate levels. Our litigation group has extensive trust, estate and probate litigation experience and can appear pro hac vice where needed.

Experienced Trust and Probate Litigation Representation

We have extensive experience representing corporate trustees and individual trustees of family trusts, executors of estates, as well as beneficiaries of a Trust or Will.

Examples Of Trust and Probate Litigation Cases:

  • Will contests
  • Defending Trustees
  • Actions to remove trustees who fail to fulfill their obligations or breach their fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries
  • Disputes over Distribution of Inheritance
  • Trustee Accountings
  • Spousal property characterization proceedings
  • Proceedings to interpret ambiguous provisions
  • Elder financial abuse claims

Why Trust Administration Turns Into Litigation

Aren’t Trusts supposed to avoid the probate court? Why would there be litigation involving a Trust? The Trust Administration process is designed to be efficient and more private than administering an estate through the probate court. However, sometimes the person appointed as trustee is unfamiliar with the steps required to administer a trust and sometimes the person appointed as trustee disregards their obligations to the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries then have to hire a lawyer to request that the court step in and supervise the trustee or to order the trustee to honor their obligations, to return money to the trust or to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

Other causes of litigation include:

  • Outdated wishes that cannot be followed
  • Death of the named successor trustee and the need to appoint areplacement
  • Ambiguous provisions
  • Documents signed under duress or fraud
  • Assets that are not in the name of the Trust which cause dispute

No matter what role you have in the dispute, it is important to consult with the right attorney who is familiar with not only with Trust Litigation but also with Trust Administration.

Our Experience Saves You Money Provides You With Results

We have focused on, and maintained a substantial practice in, estate and trust litigation for over twenty (20) years. This unique experience allows us to gear up more quickly and handle your case more efficiently. You receive answers to substantive law questions and recommendations for settlement or litigation strategy sooner and with less research time.

Our legal team is well versed in issues involving Estate Planning and
Trust Administration, and is experienced in mediating or litigating those issues. We provide clients with strategies useful to bring estate and trust controversies to successful conclusions.

Avoiding Costly Litigation

Whether we are representing institutional trustees or individuals in disputes between beneficiaries, we tailor our litigation strategies to resolve the dispute favorably and expeditiously, and to avoid costly litigation, when possible.

Providing Comprehensive Estate and Trust Litigation Services

Our attorneys offer a complete range of services to professional fiduciaries and individuals in Trust Administration. While some clients utilize our attorneys exclusively for estate or trust litigation, many appreciate the value of our other areas of expertise in our Business Group and our Real Estate Group as well.

Success in litigation requires extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy and trial presentation. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs, our qualifications, staffing approaches and rate structures with a view toward the successful resolution of estate, trust and probate-related problems. Contact us.

Second Opinion

There are times when you really need a second opinion from another attorney. We can confidentially evaluate what the problems and solutions are for your case and tell you the truth about what the source is of your delays, problems or increased expense if you are currently in litigation.

  • Why is this taking so long?
  • Is it your lawyer?
  • Do you wish your attorney was more like your opposing counsel?
  • Why is this costing so much?
  • When will this be over?
  • When should you settle and for how much?

If you have questions that your attorney is not answering, or the litigation has taken unexpected twists and turns, you should seek a second opinion.

What is the cost of a second opinion?

Second opinions on how your case is being handled can be rendered on favorable terms, in some cases at no charge.