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.
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).
Buffington Law Firm's trust litigation attorneys have frequently handled trust dispute cases in which it was necessary to bring court action in order to dispute the validity of a trust or an amendment to a trust. A revocable or "living" trust is one of the most common ways that people structure their estate plans to provide for their loved ones. Trusts are economical and efficient, and enable an estate to avoid probate. Sometimes it is necessary engage in trust dispute litigation in order to set aside improper trust amendments or restatements.
Buffington Law Firm's Orange County Trust litigation attorneys have successfully dealt with many cases that have involved Trusts that were sabotaged by someone exercising Undue Influence against an ill or very elderly person. In this short blog article we discuss some of the basics of Undue Influence as it relates to Trust disputes.