A trust is a common legal estate arrangement in which one party, the trustee, holds property or assets on behalf of another party, the beneficiary. Trusts can be created for various purposes, including minimizing estate taxes, funding education expenses, or providing parental care or supervision of minor children or disabled adults.
This financial and estate planning tool differs from a will in the fact that these are designed to be private documents that the court does not probate unless a major dispute arises. However, disputes do happen, and when they do, it may be necessary to litigate the matter in court. It may seem as if any lawyer could handle this type of case, but it is important to select an attorney who has experience with trust litigation to maximize the chances of a successful outcome that will ensure the intent of the trust is upheld.
Representing Cathedral City Estate Planning Clients
At Bochnewich Law Offices, we have mastered the complexities of probate and trust law. Our law firm has been handling advanced estate planning and trust administration matters for years, allowing us to serve as strong legal advocates for our clients. We understand the challenges and intricacies of probate and trust law, which gives us a distinct advantage when it comes to litigating trust and estate administration cases. Connect with an estate planning attorney today and see why we’re the top probate litigation law firm in Cathedral City.
What Is Trust Litigation?
Trust litigation is a type of civil litigation that arises when there is a dispute over the administration of a trust. Examples include:
The trustee is not following the terms of the trust
The trustee is mishandling trust assets
There are allegations of fraud or breach of fiduciary duty
The beneficiaries are not being properly informed of trust activity
There is a dispute over what individual the rightful trustee should be
These frequent disagreements often lead to court intervention. This requires both sides to present their case before a judge, who will make a ruling based on the evidence and arguments presented. This can be lengthy and expensive, so having a Cathedral City trust litigation lawyer can make the process go more smoothly.
What Are the Different Types of Trusts?
Many types of trusts exist, but some of the most common include testamentary trusts, living trusts, special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and irrevocable life insurance trusts.
A testamentary trust is created directly through a will and only goes into effect after the death of the person who spent time creating it, also known as the grantor.
A living trust, on the other hand, is created during the grantor’s lifetime. The grantor serves as the trustee of the trust but can also name someone else to take over upon their death.
A special needs trust is designed to support someone with a disability without affecting their eligibility for government benefits.
A charitable remainder trust allows the grantor to make a charitable donation while also receiving income from the trust for life or a set period of time.
An irrevocable life insurance trust owns a life insurance policy on the life of the grantor. This type of trust is often used to avoid estate taxes.
What Are the Different Roles in a Trust?
There are three different types of people involved in a trust: the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiary.
The grantor creates the trust and transfers ownership of their assets to the trust. This can be anyone looking to establish a trust for their loved ones. Common grantors include parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who have a number of property and assets they wish to formalize for their loved ones.
The trustee manages the trust and is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the grantor. The trustee can be the grantor themselves, or they can name someone else to take on this role. To ensure that the trustee is up to the task, it’s important to choose someone who is responsible, trustworthy, and has never done anything in life to abandon your trust or violate your wishes.
The beneficiary benefits from the trust. This can be one person or a group of people, depending on the grantor’s wishes. The beneficiary can be a spouse, child, grandchild, friend, or charitable organization. These individuals will receive the assets of the trust upon the grantor’s death or at a time specified in the trust. They can also be the reason why a trust is held up if any of these beneficiaries raise an objection to the trustee’s management of the trust.
What Happens If There Is a Dispute Over the Trust?
If there is a dispute over the trust, it will often lead to court intervention. The process will ensue as follows:
The person who is contesting the trust, known as the petitioner, will file a petition with the court.The person who is contesting the trust, known as the petitioner, will file a petition with the court.
The court will then set a hearing date, at which point both sides will present their evidence and arguments.
Based on the information presented, the judge will make a ruling.
Common reasons why someone might contest a trust include:
The petitioner believes that the trustee is not managing the trust properly. The petitioner believes that they are entitled to a larger share of the assets than what they are currently receiving.
The petitioner believes that the trust was created for an illegal purpose.
The petitioner believes that the grantor was not of sound mind when they created the trust.
If there is genuine mismanagement of the trust or other illegal activity taking place, the court may intervene and remove the trustee. The court may also order the trustee to give the petitioner a larger share of the assets. However, if the court finds that there is no merit to the petitioner’s claims, then the trust will remain unchanged.
How Can I Create a Trust?
If you’re interested in creating a trust, there are a few simple steps that can jumpstart the process:
Choose the type of trust you want to create: There are many different types of trusts, each with its own unique benefits. You’ll need to decide which type of trust best suits your needs. Whether you’re looking to avoid probate or estate taxes, or you want to protect your assets from creditors, there is a trust that can suit your goal.
Determine who will be involved: You’ll need to choose a grantor, trustee, and beneficiaries. It’s important to choose someone you have grown to trust to be the trustee, as they will be responsible for managing the trust, which will contain some of your most valuable assets.
Create the trust document: This is the document that will outline the terms of the trust. It will need to be signed by the grantor and notarized.
Fund the trust: The trust will need to be funded with assets. This can be done by transferring ownership of property, stocks, and other assets into the name of the trust. Once the assets are in the trust, they will be managed by the trustee according to the terms set forth in the trust document.
If you have any questions about creating a trust, or if you need help drafting the trust document, you should speak with an experienced trusts and estates lawyer. They can ensure your trust is created correctly.
What Makes a Trust Litigation Attorney Different?
A trust litigation attorney is a lawyer who specializes in handling disputes relating to trusts. These attorneys have experience litigating in court and are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding trusts. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
If you’re involved in a trust dispute, you should look for an attorney with the following qualifications:
Experience handling trust litigation: You should look for an attorney who has experience specifically with trust litigation. You need help immediately, and there is no time to waste being spent with an attorney unfamiliar with this area of law.
Familiarity with state and federal laws: Trusts are governed by state and federal laws. The attorney you choose should be familiar with both sets of laws and be able to navigate the complexities of both.
A strong track record: When looking for an attorney, you should ask about their experience with trust litigation. Understanding how many cases they have handled and their success rate can give you an idea of what to expect.
Compassion and understanding: This is a difficult time for you, and you need a compassionate and understanding attorney. They should be able to listen to your story and help you understand the options available to you.
Contact Bochnewich Law Offices Today
If you’re involved in a trust dispute, it’s time to meet a trust litigation attorney who can help you. At Bochnewich Law Offices, we deeply understand trust law and can help you breeze through this difficult time with premier legal counsel. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll review your case with great care and help you determine the best course of action. Let us help you take back control of what’s rightfully yours to own or protect.
I can’t say enough great things about this attorney.
I have to say that Peter is also an unusual attorney in that he is compassionate and has a sense of what is just and appropriate; he will be honest and forthright with his client, but will absolutely fight to right a perceived injustice.
Excellent Team caring and aggressive. They get the job done. Highly recommend this firm.
I have to say that Peter is also an unusual attorney in that he is compassionate and has a sense of what is just and appropriate; he will be honest and forthright with his client, but will absolutely fight to right a perceived injustice. I can't say enough great things about this attorney.
With Peter’s guidance, we were able to navigate through a very stressful situation. Throughout the process, Peter was always available for questions and prompt with the right answers. At no time did we feel alone in this process. His compassion and experience were invaluable, and we were able to right a terrible wrong. I would highly recommend attorney Peter Bochnewich for your legal needs.”
Throughout a long and sometimes difficult legal battle, my sister and I were constantly impressed by the depth of Mr. Bochnewich’s understanding of the law, his energy in applying it, and his intelligent and effective presence in court. We were also deeply appreciative of his warmth toward us and the deeply ethical behavior he exhibited both in and out of court. In the end, Mr. Bochnewich’s skills were responsible for removing the executor from the estate, and in our receiving a seven-figure judgment. I would not hesitate to recommend Peter Bochnewich to anyone seeking highly skilled legal assistance with estate and inheritance issues.”