GRISMER LAW

Trust Litigation

Trust litigation is the process of legal disputes over a trust, between beneficiaries and trustees.

Navigating the Complexities of Trust Litigation

Trust litigation is a complex area of the law, and navigating it may be challenging. With our help, you’ll learn the basics of trust litigation—from setting up your case, to ensuring you have all the evidence necessary to win your case, to what to do if there’s an appeal. If you need trust litigation we can help!

Evaluate the Trust for Litigation Purposes

Before you even consider initiating a trust litigation case, it’s important to understand the trust in question. You must determine the various parties involved, any applicable agreements or laws governing the trust, how funds were distributed from the trust (or why they may not have been yet), and if there are potential conflicts of interest at play. Doing this will give you a clearer understanding of your case, as well as where to focus your efforts before launching further into the litigation process.
Trust Litigation in Orange County and Los Angeles County
Additionally, it’s essential to evaluate the trust’s documents for loopholes and clear indications of fraud or manipulation. Most trusts contain language of “sole discretion” where the trustee has full authority to manage and spend from the trust without need for notice, disclosure, or court approval. If this is indicated in a trust document then pursuing further litigation may not be an option. Make sure you develop a clear approach in determining if all parties tried their best to adhere to trust law when assessing how a particular trust was administered; that way you can accurately determine if there was any wrongdoing involved by using the laws in your state as a basis for reference.

Hold a Strategy Session to Determine Goals and Objectives

No trust litigation case will be the same as the next, so it’s important to have a strategy session with your client before you dive deeper into the case. Whether you’re representing a beneficiary or a trustee of an estate, having such a discussion will help you better understand their hopes and expectations ahead of taking legal action. During this session, explore if there is any potential for negotiated settlement rather than enduring long-term litigation which can be costly and lengthy.
 
We take the time to map out a client’s goals and objectives gives everyone involved an understanding of the desired end result. We start by understanding the motivations of each party, with a focus on resolving conflict rather than litigating. Consider all interests that may be in conflict, as well as how a proposed settlement or judgment could affect them. Having this dialogue creates transparency and will lay the foundation for success going forward.

Filing the Trust Lawsuit: When, Where, and Why?

Once you have a clear understanding of the trust dispute, it’s time to file the trust lawsuit. It’s essential to choose the right forum and venue for filing the initial complaint based on jurisdictional issues. For example, if you’re responsible for a trust originating in one state but both parties live in another, it’s important to decide which location is best suited for filing. Additionally, you’ll need to consider how long ago the dispute began, as well as any relevant statues or laws that might be applicable to your particular case.

Responding to Court Motions and Other Requests for Discovery.

In litigation, the party that files the initial complaint must provide complimentary answers and documents to any requests from the other party. Generally, this is done through a process of written discovery known as Requests for Admissions and Interrogatories. Additionally, official court motions could be filed to compel the requestor to produce certain evidence or provide certain information. It’s important to understand your legal obligations with respect to discovery requests, as failure to comply with them can have serious implications.

Preparing for Trial and Dealing with Appeals.

Once you’ve identified the issues in your trust litigation case and gone through discovery, it’s time to prepare for trial. The process typically involves selecting a jury, presenting evidence to the court, and making arguments for adjudication of assets. In most cases, parties can opt to settle without going to trial. If a trust case is litigated and or ruled on successfully by the courts, there may be an opportunity to pursue appeals if warranted. It’s important to work closely with a lawyer familiar with these processes in order to navigate any potential challenges that could arise at each step of the process.

The information provided on this page is for informational purposes. If you have questions or need legal advice you can contact us and speak with our attorneys about your legal needs.

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