La Quinta Practice Areas
Trusts are a wonderful option for many families. Many people put their assets in a trust during their estate planning process in order to ensure that their beneficiaries receive what they deserve. Although trusts are not good for every family, they do allow for many privileges and benefits that other estate planning tactics lack.
Just like any financial account, legal issues can arise with trusts and estate plans. Trust litigation can be complicated and confusing, and many families feel lost during the process. Fortunately, the parties involved are permitted to hire legal representation to help them during the process. A trust attorney has the direct experience and knowledge to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Bochnewich Law Offices: Your Trusted La Quinta Trust Lawyers
Our team at Bochnewich Law Offices has been working in estate planning and trust administration law for many years. We understand the complexities of these arrangements as well as the common issues that arise in probate court. Our experience in this field is unmatched, giving our clients a distinct advantage in the courtroom.
The trust administration attorneys at Bochnewich Law Offices are highly trained and ready to help you. No matter what issue you are facing, we have the expertise to answer your questions, develop your case, and guide you through the legal process.
What Is Trust Litigation?
Estate planning and trust law are two fairly complicated areas of the legal system. Many lawyers cannot practice in this area because of a lack of understanding. Therefore, it is natural that many of our clients do not understand what “trust litigation” is until they encounter it in their own lives.
Trust litigation is legal action that occurs around a trust. Trusts are financial planning tools in which a benefactor puts their assets in an account that is held by a trustee. When the benefactor passes away, the trustee is responsible for distributing the assets in the trust to the beneficiaries that the benefactor listed. For example, your grandmother (the benefactor) put all her financial accounts and assets into a trust. She appoints her niece as the trustee. When your grandmother dies, her niece is responsible for giving the assets to all the people outlined in your grandmother’s instructions.
The benefit of trusts is that many assets avoid probate court. During probate court, the government usually assesses a deceased individual’s assets and takes taxes from them. However, since the trustee technically has control over the assets and they did not pass away, the assets often do not have to go through probate court.
There are many places where legal issues can arise, which is where trust litigation happens. Sometimes beneficiaries have an issue with the trustee’s authority. Other times, a beneficiary believes that the benefactor made a mistake. Trust litigation provides a legal avenue for the family to resolve any issues that arise.
Why Do I Need a Trust Litigation Attorney?
If you have a problem with a trust, you need a trust litigation attorney to represent you. This is because litigation is complicated, and it is difficult to make a case for yourself without legal representation. Although the benefactor may have used an estate planning attorney to create their trust, that individual is ethically and legally bound to represent the benefactor, even after death. This means that they cannot represent you without creating a conflict of interest. If you want to resolve your issue with someone who has your best interests in mind, you need a trust litigation attorney.
You cannot bring a trust litigation case forward unless you have a vested interest in the trust. This prevents non-interested parties from blocking the trust process without any real reason. Therefore, you must have something significant on the line when you enter trust litigation. Whether it is a larger inheritance or different assets, you should make every effort to get what you deserve. The best way to do this is with an attorney.
One of the most common types of trust litigation involves fiduciary breaches. These occur when the trustee mismanages the trust to the detriment of the beneficiaries. Usually, the beneficiaries file these complaints because they have the most to lose.
It can be difficult to identify fiduciary breaches, but there are some key signs that one is occurring. If you notice any of the following, it is a good sign that you should hire legal representation:
- The trustee’s finances and the estate’s finances begin to mix or seem dependent on one another. A trustee’s key responsibility is to keep the trust’s assets and finances completely separate from their own.
- The trustee facilitates or does not hinder a breach of trust by a co-trustee.
- The trustee encounters a conflict of interest with the trust.
- The trustee requests money or compensation from the trust.
In general, the trustee should be impartial and not personally invested in the trust’s outcomes. If they are, there is room for bias and illegal practices to occur. If it seems as though the trustee is beginning to act less impartially, or even blatantly favoring a certain party, hiring an attorney can help you protect your interests.
What to Look for in a Trust Litigation Attorney
If you hire a trust litigation attorney, it is important to understand what to look for so that you can hire someone who will help you. Experience in the field is by far the most important factor. Many attorneys do not have the ability to argue these cases, and a good track record reflects ability and reliability. You should also choose someone with whom you feel comfortable, as many people are emotional when undergoing trust litigation.
Contact Bochnewich Law Offices
If you and your family are going through trust litigation, you need an attorney who can represent you and help you navigate the complicated system of trusts and probate. Our attorneys at Bochnewich Law Offices can do that for you. Contact Bochnewich Law Offices online to learn more about how we can serve your family.