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What is Trust Litigation?

Published on January 22nd, 2018

Trusts are established in an attempt to pass on monetary gifts, belongings, personal items, art or other assets to designated family members. Despite best of intentions from the person who wrote the trust prior to their passing, there may still be issues that come up between beneficiaries or in response to a trust executor’s careless actions.

It is not uncommon for relatives to request a litigation of trust, if the trust executor is negligent or reckless when it comes to handling the wishes of their cherished family member. Especially during a time of immense grieving, the last thing any loved one wants is to see their relative’s wishes not taken care of with the utmost respect and thorough care.

There may be concerns that the loved one’s wishes are not being passed on correctly or beneficiaries are not receiving what was rightfully owed. Even beneficiaries can go into trial with a dispute between each other. Typically if this is the case, beneficiaries are debating over a belief that the trust has been mismanaged, or one is owed more than the other but did not receive all assigned assets.

Why Relatives Hire an Attorney

Due to the complexity and sensitivity of a trust litigation process, grieving family members may choose to find legal representation to help with their case. The costs of hiring an attorney can vary, but in the end having legal assistance can increase the chances of receiving a desired verdict. Relatives seek the help of an attorney most often for one or many of the following reasons:

#1 – Breach of Fiduciary Duty

#2 – Fraudulent Acts

#3 – Removal of Trustee or Executor

#4 – Contests of Trust

#5 – Compelling Trustees to Account

#6 – Spouses or Heirs Omitted

#7 – Trust Property Reclaim

#8 – Prudent Investor Rule Violation

#9 – Petition to Instruct Trustee

#10 – Appointment of Independent Trustee

Trust Litigation Steps

In summary, a trust litigation includes: gathering of evidence, filing of a petition, hearing notices sent to involved family members, evidence is brought forth, a judge may order parties to attend mediation, expert witness depositions are used as evidence, trial is prepared with the help of an attorney, trial hearing is scheduled, verdict is determined by a judge, and then an appeal can be requested by the losing party if desired. The steps of trust litigation have been briefly listed below:

  • Investigation & Research
  • Petitioning/Pleading Trial
  • Obtaining & Discovery of Evidence
  • Mediation by Judge
  • Expert Witness Depositions
  • Preparation of Trial
  • Trial Hearing
  • Appeal

Trust litigation can be a very stressful, frustrating and emotionally triggering trial to go through. Many people are not even sure what trust litigation entails, and once they do, can feel overwhelmed if not properly briefed. By reading over this information, it can help you decide if you are willing to go through the many tedious steps regarding issues of your deceased loved one’s trust. An attorney, such as the trust attorney Roseville CA locals turn to, can help you decide if there is a solid case, or if you can be at peace with how the trust was handled. Even if it did not bring the desired outcome you imagined, speak with an attorney today.

Thanks to authors at The Yee Law Group for their insight into Trust Litigation.


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