This is the first post in a series which will discuss disputing a trust in San Bernardino or elsewhere in California. I have decided to write on this topic because disputes often arise over the handling of a trust and it is common for both sides to be under a misunderstanding as to how matters should be handled. My goal with this series is to provide information which will allow all parties to make an informed decision when selecting a lawyer to assist them. I cannot stress enough the fact that you should contact a trust administration attorney immediately if you believe matters are not being handled correctly.
I will be addressing several topics over my coming posts. Issues which I will look at include:
- Common claims brought against a Trustee
- The statute of limitations in which beneficiaries must initiate a lawsuit
- Understanding whether you actually have a claim against the Trustee
- Who it is that will pay the legal fees in a trust administration dispute
These are important topics to understand. First, many Trustees make the mistake of not recognizing the extent to which they are accountable to the trust’s beneficiaries. Mistakenly thinking that one has “all the power” and can handle things at their own leisure is one of the greatest causes of trust litigation. Second, a trust’s beneficiaries will only have a certain amount of time in which they are permitted to initiate a dispute. This time is known as the “statute of limitations.” Calculating this time frame, however, can be complicated for reasons which I will explain in a future post. Third, beneficiaries often wish to bring a claim against the Trustee because they disagree with how matters were handled. It is important to understand that you cannot sue a Trustee simply because you disagree with their approach; they must have actually violated one of their duties or obligations. Finally, it is important to understand when a trust will and will not be responsible for the legal fees of a Trustee and the beneficiaries.
If you are the beneficiary to a trust and you believe things are being mismanaged, then you should immediately contact counsel. Many beneficiaries make the mistake of engaging in long and drawn-out arguments with the Trustee. Such situations tend to not resolve any issues and, more often than not, simply make matters worse. If you contact an attorney, then counsel can reach out to the Trustee and work to resolve any differences in the most efficient way possible. If a quick resolution cannot be reached, then a lawsuit will be initiated with the Court to fully protect your interests.
I am a San Bernardino trust administration lawyer handling disputes related to such matters. I deal with cases involving the lack of proper accounting, the mismanagement of assets, improper dealings by the Trustee, and more. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. I also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.