Integrity. Experience. Perseverance.

Navigate Trustee Disputes With Confidence

Being a trustee can be difficult and stressful. Family dynamics, petty jealousies, egos and resentments can make managing a trust difficult. Sometimes, disagreements among family and other beneficiaries can lead to accusations of wrongdoing.

At The Sterling Law Group, A P.C., we can assist you in complex trust litigation disputes. We’ve provided strategic and tailored defense for trustees in California. Our years of experience representing trustees in the Golden State gives us a thorough understanding of what’s at stake for you.

What Can Trustees Face Litigation For?

There are several reasons why beneficiaries sue trustees. The accusations trustees can face include failing to:

  • Follow the terms of the trust
  • Disclose material facts
  • Communicate with beneficiaries
  • Put the beneficiaries’ interests above their own
  • Manage the trust
  • Remove trustees without reason or notice
  • Account for all trust assets
  • Appropriate trust assets

If you are a trustee dealing with accusatory beneficiaries, do not attempt to handle the situation alone. With effective legal guidance, you can reduce the risk of losing your trustee status and incurring damages. Call our attorneys, at 916-727-6904 to get the defense you need today.

How We Manage Trustee Disputes

Here is a breakdown of the process:

Step 1: Review And Analyze Your Situation

We start with a thorough review of the trust and address the following questions:

  • What express powers does the trust grant the trustee?
  • Who is designated as the successor trustee and alternate successor trustee?
  • Who are the beneficiaries and what are their rights under the terms of the trust?
  • How frequently does the trust obligate the trustee to account?
  • Does the trust authorize the trustee to hire attorneys to defend the trust?
  • Can the trustee use the trust to pay for legal representation?
  • Does the trust contain a no-contest clause? If so, does the lawsuit filed by the petitioning beneficiary fall within the terms of the no-contest clause, potentially subjecting them to disinheritance?
  • Has the trustee administered the trust according to its terms?
  • Has the trust been breached by the trustee’s actions in any manner?
  • Does it limit the trustee’s liability only to cases of willful misconduct and/or gross negligence?
  • Was the lawsuit filed by the beneficiary brought in bad faith? Thus, potentially subjecting the beneficiary to paying the attorney’s fees?

The answers to these questions can typically dictate the next steps.

Step 2: Decide Your Dispute Resolution Approach

Following the analysis and review of your situation, we will work with you to devise a solid defense strategy. Our goal is to help you resolve your dispute in a satisfactory and cost-effective manner. Sometimes, that means using informal settlement strategies like court-ordered mediation. However, this usually only works if you and the beneficiary are willing to compromise. If you can’t reach a compromise, that’s usually when we’d look to engage in litigation.

Step 3: Engage In Your Dispute Resolution Approach

If you engage in mediation, the third-party sets ground rules for negotiations and both parties will discuss the issue at hand until they reach an agreed-upon resolution.

If you engage in litigation, it typically begins with an aggressive discovery process. Once evidence and information get collected from subpoenas, document requests and depositions, we prepare what we have for trial.

Our firm’s experience going to trial for trust litigation cases gives our clients a competitive advantage when they enter the courtroom. When you work with us, you know that you will get a team who gives your case the care and dedication it deserves from start to finish.

Engaged In A Trustee Dispute? Contact Us.

Disputes involving trustees and beneficiaries can quickly become contentious, especially when either side has much to lose. Our experience and knowledge in trustee disputes can help you navigate them with peace of mind. Wish to schedule a consultation? Fill out our contact form to get started. We look forward to hearing from you.