Setting up trusts is one way to avoid many of the problems that come with wills and probate court. However, Los Angeles trust litigation can still occur for a variety of reasons. It is important to understand how to avoid problems and disputes in the first place, as well as know what rights you have and can protect with the assistance of a trust litigation attorney.
Purpose of Trusts
Trusts are set up by a grantor, or person with assets, in order to ensure their proper distribution to loved ones and designated parties at a specific time, usually once they have passed. There are two types, revocable and irrevocable: the first is controlled by the grantor during their lifetime, while in the latter case, a trustee is a reliable person who is responsible for making financial decisions about the assets and distributing them. The relationship between the parties who receive the money or assets and those who control it are where problems can arise.
When a Trust Litigation Attorney May be Necessary
In Los Angeles, attorneys regularly help beneficiaries and trustees who believe that certain duties have not been performed. Trustees are considered similarly to financial advisors for people and therefore are subject to claims that include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty – This is a common legal term that simply means that a grantee has doubts over whether or not the trustee is making sound financial decisions.
- Violation of prudent investor laws – Prudent investors acting on behalf of trusts must consider sales of assets or properties that are in the best interest of the eventual grantees.
- Valuation disputes – Valuation disputes can be difficult to arbitrate, but beneficiaries often have questions about major sales of properties and want to know that the price was fair for all parties.
They are also responsible for managing the affairs of the trust pursuant to the grantor’s wishes. Some family members may not believe that this is occurring or that the trustee is being prudent in their dealings with family members. Some of the relevant claims brought in these situations include:
- Disputes over actions taken under power of attorney – A trustee has vast powers over assets in an irrevocable trust, and beneficiaries and grantors alike may have questions over whether or not the decisions were done pursuant to the grantor’s wishes.
- Cy pres petitions – A cy pres petition is unfortunately sometimes necessary when a person’s assets and property lose value such that they are no longer useful for the trust’s original goals. Making a new plan requires input from many parties.
- Undue influence claims – A trust litigation attorney in Los Angeles often works with beneficiaries who may not be sure that the trustee is making decisions based on the wishes of the grantor, but also their own desires.
Representation for Beneficiaries and Trustees
A trust is fundamentally an agreement, so trust litigation attorneys will often work with parties on both sides of disagreements depending on who they are in contact with first as well as the specific facts of the case. Finding a firm that works with both sides not only affords you valuable expertise, but also shows other parties that the goals are for the best representation of all pursuant to the grantor’s wishes.
Contact Our Los Angeles Trust Litigation Attorneys Today
At Stone and Sallus, our trust litigation attorneys only focus on trusts and probate issues. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about the facts of your situation. We will review with you what steps you can take and what makes the most sense for your legal rights and your loved ones at the same time.