Get a Knowledgeable Santa Clarita Probate Lawyer on Your Side
When the creator of a living trust passes away, the decedent’s property held in trust passes to the trustor’s established beneficiaries. Sometimes, disputes can arise between these beneficiaries and other interested parties who believe they are the rightful heirs to a person’s assets. When this happens, a person can pursue litigation in probate court and contest the terms of a trust. If you are involved in a trust dispute, a Santa Clarita probate litigation attorney from The Werner Law Firm can help you pursue your rightful share of your loved one’s estate.
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How is a Trust Contested in California?
In order to contest a trust, a beneficiary or interested party must file a contest petition in probate court and request that the improper trust be ignored. The person filing this lawsuit must have an interest in the outcome of the court case, such as a beneficiary or someone who would otherwise inherit a decedent’s assets if the trust’s existing terms were to be deemed invalid. These formal objections allege that the existing trust does not accurately reflect the intent of the trustor.
Trusts can be contested for a number of reasons, including:
- The trustor lacked sufficient mental capacity
- The trustor was subject to undue influence at the time of the trust’s creation
- The trust does not satisfy state requirements
- The trust was signed without sufficient witnesses
It is important to note, however, that some trusts have a “no contest” clause that states that any beneficiary who disputes the terms of the trust will automatically be disinherited. With that being said, this clause will only revoke a person’s inheritance if the courts uphold the terms of the trust. If litigation successfully results in the termination of the existing trust, the clause will become meaningless. Courts will only examine the legality of a person’s trust rather than its fairness, as a person has a right to distribute their assets as they please.
Providing Trusted Probate Advocacy Since 1975
If you are looking to contest the terms of your loved one’s trust, a knowledgeable attorney from our firm can examine the circumstances surrounding the disputed trust’s creation and craft a custom-tailored strategy to give you the edge in court. Our Santa Clarita probate lawyers understand the emotional costs of losing a loved one, and we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to help you get through this difficult time.