Buffington Law Firm's civil litigation attorneys often utilize formal Mediation as a tool to conclude business litigation, real estate litigation, or trust dispute cases. Mediation can be a very cost-effective and efficient way for our clients to achieve their objectives without the cost, stress, and uncertainty of trial.
After a loved one passed in your family, the last thing you expected was to end up in a dispute with your family members. However, it happens and it happens all too often. While you may have thought optimistically at first, that the issue would be resolved within the family, it has grown to the point where one or more family members has threatened legal action. You are afraid that if you get your own attorney, it could escalate things. However, if there is a trust dispute you are already in an escalated situation.
Buffington Law Firm's Trust litigation attorneys have had broad experience in the litigation of trust dispute issues. In last week's Blog article we discussed various theories for invalidating Trusts, or provisions within a Trust. One of the categories dealt with certain types of beneficiaries who are presumptively disqualified from taking under a Trust. In this article we will briefly discuss a specific type of (sometimes) presumptively disqualified beneficiary -- a care custodian.
Buffington Law Firm's trust dispute attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended many disputes involving the validity (or invalidity) of a revocable ("living") trust. This is commonly known as a "trust contest." The basic notion of a trust contest is that for one reason or another, a beneficiary or other person with standing seeks to invalidate either an entire trust instrument, or possibly only one provision or amendment of the trust. There are many reasons why this sometimes is done, and certainly this brief Blog article cannot cover all of the various grounds for trust disputes. However, we will discuss some of the more common scenarios, which unfortunately recur with amazing frequency.
One of Buffington Law Firm's largest practice areas is the litigation of inheritance disputes -- which in practice almost always means litigation of a dispute concerning the terms of a revocable ("living") trust. A "trust contest" is a dispute as to the validity of a trust instrument or amendment thereto. Usually these disputes arise after the trustor or trustors (the makers of the trust) have passed. There can be many grounds for this. It is amazingly common, for example, for one future beneficiary of a trust to exert undue influence over an extremely infirm, possibly incompetent elderly parent and cause that parent to sign an amendment disinheriting all of the other beneficiaries and benefiting only the one. The elder often has no idea that this is what he or she is signing. There appears to be no shortage of attorneys who will draft such amendments. There are many other causes of trust contests and many variations on this theme.
This Blog article continues the discussion of "Causes of Trust Disputes and Litigation" from last week's article. As discussed, the usual purpose of a trust is to act as a flexible and efficient means of transferring assets from the decedent(s) to the beneficiaries, and to avoid probate. By avoiding probate the estate can avoid the delay and expense of having the probate court supervise the distribution of the estate. While avoiding the involvement of the probate court is usually a good thing, sometimes there are problems leading to trust disputes.
Buffington Law Firm's Trust Litigation attorney team has dealt with all manner of trust and estate disputes. This Blog article will discuss some of the more common causes of such disputes.
Buffington Law Firm's trust dispute litigation attorneys have dealt with many trust litigation cases deriving from situations in which the maker of a trust (the "trustor") made changes to his or her trust very late in life. Trust dispute scenarios sometimes involve situations in which an elderly person makes a radical change to his or her estate plan literally days, weeks, or a few months before death. Of course, in our free society an elder of sound mind has every right to do this at any time. It is sometimes the case that after a lifetime of reflection a person may rationally want to make changes to the disposition of his or her legacy.
Buffington Law Firm's trust litigation attorneys have often achieved successful outcomes for beneficiaries in trust dispute cases in which trustees have abused their powers and failed to properly carry out the terms of the trust. This article discusses some of the considerations in these types of trust dispute.
Buffington Law Firm's Trust litigation attorneys often deal with cases involving persons who suffer from mental incapacity or disability. Trust litigation often arises when a person, often an elderly person, allegedly suffers from a lack of mental capacity. It is a fact of life that as people age sometimes their mental faculties decline to the point where the person simply lacks the mental ability to make or understand his or her decisions. This can be due to diseases such as Alzheimer's, or many other similar causes of dementia and similar conditions. California Probate Code Sections 810-813 discuss mental incapacity. In California there is a presumption, absent evidence or a judicial determination to the contrary, that all adults have "...the capacity to make decisions and to be responsible for their acts or decisions." Cal. Prob. Code Sec. 810(a).