Practice Areas

Trust Litigation Lawyers in Sacramento

Contending with the loss of a loved one brings a flood of emotions. When you’re trying to fulfill a loved one’s last wishes, you may encounter some unpleasant surprises. The stress of losing a family member takes its toll, and turmoil can result. When the inheritors of a trust and estate do not agree on stipulations in a trust, they may find trust litigation necessary. If you are in need of legal help with a trust litigation issue, contact an experienced Sacramento, CA trust litigation attorney.

What Is Trust Litigation?

Litigation refers to any trust matter family members want clarified. When the court is required to intervene and rule on a trust, the process is referred to as “trust litigation.” Some contested matters are more clearly cut than others. Trust litigation doesn’t have to involve resentment between the affected parties, though this certainly is a reason some pursue legal action. The courts establish general guidelines for what can be construed as a trust litigation issue, including:

  • Trust modification suits. In this type of legal action, an affected party asks the court to make changes in the terms of a trust.
  • Trust termination suits. These cases involve a request to the court to cancel the terms of a trust completely.
  • Construction suits. Reserved for wording matters, these actions require the courts to make a ruling on a phrasing in a trust.
  • A challenge to the validity of a trust.
  • Fiduciary action suits. When the executor of the estate planning doesn’t complete his or her job duties in a timely manner, the inheritors may file a legal action against them.

This is not a fully representative list of grounds for trust litigation. If you have a concern with the way a trust is being executed, contact a trust litigation lawyer in Sacramento, CA for advice. A Sacramento wills and trusts attorney can advise you once he or she has a clear picture of your situation.

Do I Need Trust Litigation?

Certain factors will affect your need for trust litigation. An inheritor or beneficiary may pursue legal action if:

  • The trust is what lawyers refer to as a “non-standard” document. For example, the deceased may have drafted a trust without the help of an attorney or with a lawyer lacking experience. This makes the document more open to interpretation. In other cases, the trust may be excessively detailed, in an attempt to retain control, even after death.
  • The trust carries unpopular stipulations or is the result of faulty planning. In some cases, the deceased will make provisions for unknown inheritors or mistresses, causing turmoil after death. In other cases, the deceased may have relegated control of a trust to a third party, without anticipating the potential animosity. Several scenarios can be the result of faulty planning, but a lack of foresight is generally a strong factor in the need for trust litigation.
  • The deceased fails to appoint a fiduciary, or chooses the wrong one to carry out the terms of a trust. A proper fiduciary is timely, conscientious, and professional. Any person who possesses these qualities can be a quality executor, but the allocation of assets can be seriously delayed if the paperwork isn’t filed efficiently. Less commonly, the deceased may appoint more than one executor, which leads to in-fighting.
  • Finally, second marriages can cause problems dissolving a trust. Unless a couple decides on asset allocation in a prenuptial agreement, fighting between the prior spouse and second spouse can result. Assets not divided cleanly between the two spouses, children, and step-children can lead to trust litigation.

Contact a Trust Litigation Attorney

If you’re concerned with stipulations outlined in a loved one’s trust, elicit the help of an experienced law firm. At Boyd Law office in Sacramento, CA, we can review the specifics of your case so you can decide on next steps. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us.