Blood is not always thicker. Taking siblings to court can irreversibly sever family ties. Especially when siblings are contesting a trust, tensions are high, and there’s more than a material gain at stake. Fortunately, a premier California trust litigation attorney can find an out-of-court solution to reinforce your bonds so you can be there for each other when you need each other most.
At Gokal Law Group, we have been helping siblings successfully resolve disputes for over 20 years. In more extreme cases, we have helped siblings protect their inheritance from other siblings who had nefarious motives. Learn what to do when siblings are disputing a trust:
Common Reasons For Siblings Contesting a Trust
Inheritance is, unfortunately, a common cause for taking siblings to court. For example, one sibling may have coerced or manipulated a parent or grandparent into giving them a larger inheritance.
Uncollectible loans are also common. Maybe a sibling took a loan from a grandparent or parent before they passed. There are often siblings contesting a trust when that person refuses to repay. In other situations, one sibling may steal directly from the trust.
“We recently helped a client facing false allegations from their siblings. We were able to prove they were trying to disempower our client and increase their inheritance,” added Abbas K. Gokal, a partner and practicing trust litigation attorney at Gokal Law Group with decades of experience in probate courts.
Also, the trust creator must comply with California Probate Code when they execute the trust document. If the creator didn’t adhere to the probate code, this invalidates the document and is another common reason for siblings contesting trusts.
What To Do When Siblings Are Contesting a Trust
When siblings are entangled in a trust dispute, taking siblings to court is not the only solution. From finding creative compromises to working with a California trust litigation attorney, discover how to navigate this process:
When siblings are contesting a trust, creative compromises can avoid California trust litigation. For example, maybe your mom had a ring that everyone wanted.
“You can often avoid situations where someone feels like they should be taking siblings to court by reaching a creative compromise. In this situation, maybe you could make the necklace a family heirloom everyone can wear instead of having one person receiving ownership,” Abbas offered.
Talk More to Fight Less
If you are dealing with siblings contesting a trust, remember to communicate. Despite the disputes you may have, you’re still family, and grief affects people differently.
Disagreements, misunderstandings, and the potential for trust litigation often compound these feelings. Communicate candidly during asset distribution, be empathetic, and (depending on the situation) remember you are all in this together.
You cannot dictate how others react, but you can dictate your tone to have healthy discussions about emotionally complex topics to avoid taking siblings to court.
Work With a California Trust Litigation Attorney
It’s important to keep in mind that working with an attorney doesn’t have to result in taking siblings to court. Attorneys can help mediate and resolve disputes out-of-court, which will save you time, minimize stress, and can even help preserve your relationships.
Still, if you have no recourse, working with a lawyer is crucial to defending your beneficiary rights, protecting your inheritance, and preserving the legacy of the person who has passed. Generally, an expert attorney will help with:
- Requesting a trust audit and asset valuation
- Finding witnesses
- Filing a formal complaint with the probate court
- Finding an informal resolution with siblings or their attorney
- Leveraging court processes to resolve disputes
Trust Litigation Attorneys for Siblings Contesting a Trust
Regardless of the situation, when a trust contest involves siblings, working with a premier California trust litigation attorney is of the utmost importance. Remember – working with a lawyer doesn’t have to mean taking siblings to court. A neutral third party is often the missing piece to the puzzle so you and your family can resolve this issue out of court and be there for each other as you grieve the passing of a loved one.
Fortunately, at Gokal Law Group, our firm boasts unmatched expertise and experience in mediation and litigation. For counsel that can try to preserve family ties during contentious situations, call us at (949) 753-9100 or contact us to request a case evaluation.