A Pain-Free Guide on Trust Litigation In California

There are a number of disappointing scenarios which require a trust litigation attorney: Maybe your trustee has been lazy in administering the trust; the trust might be ambiguous or have certain errors; ownership of property may not be clear; assets (i.e. cars, homes, jewelry) may be outside of the trust; or the decedent’s estate isn’t being executed as they wished it to be. Read on for some context on the types of trust litigation in California, so that you know which route to take before contacting a trust litigation expert for a consultation.


Types of Trust Litigation In California


Trustee Disputes

This type of trust dispute is the most common, and takes place when the beneficiaries of a trust are dissatisfied with the trustee’s management. There are a few reasons why beneficiaries could reach this conclusion, such as if a trustee is mishandling trust property or assets. 


Other reasons include the trustee being neglectful in their fiduciary duties, not administering the trust according to instructions, or being included in the estate’s inheritance – which is often a red flag. If a trustee dispute carries through, the disputing party will have to approach the court so that a new trustee can be designated. 


Trust Contests

Rather than questioning a person’s intentions, trust contests point out potentially improper language or instructions in a trust document. It can refer to an intentional error, or one that was simply an honest mistake. Trust contests also arise when questionable language is thought to be the result of fraudulent influence in some way. An example is an abruptly new clause in the trust agreement which tampers with the original allocation of property. 


To launch a trust contest, the disputing party enters trust litigation in order to prove that undue influence was involved, making it clear that any recent provisions or misspellings weren’t the decedent’s intent. When errors such as these are made, a previous version of the trust document is typically used as a replacement. 


Property Disputes

Property disputes are a bit less straightforward than trustee disputes and trust contests. These arise when the property in an estate has “uncertain ownership.” Maybe the trust agreement was never updated after a piece of real estate was sold, or after liquidating a basket of assets. Joint accounts and assets also tend to create property disputes out of uncertainty. 


A few common cases where property disputes may occur include: the sale of real estate or a business, if a new property was bought but not included in the trust document, or if a joint owner transfers cash assets with ill intent only to take full ownership of those assets after the decedent’s passing. 


Have Your Inheritance Rights Been Breached?

In order to dispute a trust and enter litigation, you must be a direct beneficiary of the trust at hand. In other words, either your name must be in the estate planning documents at the time the decedent created it, or you need to be a direct relative by either blood or adoption. If you have reason to believe a trustee dispute, trust contest, or property dispute are in order, a trust and probate attorney can help guide you through the process of trust litigation in California without a hitch. 


Contact Gokal Law

Do you have a probate court case on your hands? Ensure that your petition gets filed by contacting Alison and Abbas Gokal of Gokal Law Group, Inc. Our team specializes in litigation and counseling related to trust and probate law and will diligently represent you in the courts. In short, we will give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.


Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.


Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

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