Southern California’s Premier Trust Litigation Attorneys
Trusts play a vital role in the legal landscape, serving as a special form of contract between the creator and the trustee. However, like any contract, trust agreements are susceptible to breaches. In fact, prolonged operation of a trust creates more opportunities for these breaches to occur. Compounded by the strict duties imposed on trustees, who oversee assets meant to benefit others, it’s no wonder that trust and probate litigation is prevalent.
Understanding Trust Litigation
Trust litigation primarily revolves around claims of trust agreement violations or breaches of fiduciary duty by the trustee. These cases require expertise in trust law, careful interpretation of the trust agreement, and a comprehensive understanding of the trustee’s obligations. An experienced trust litigator possesses all these qualities and can provide invaluable insights into early dispute resolution strategies.
The Nature of a Trustee’s Obligations
Trustees are bound by fiduciary duties that demand a higher standard of conduct. The foremost duty requires administering the trust in accordance with the trust agreement, including compliance with all relevant laws. Additionally, trustees must possess a deep understanding of the trust’s purpose and specific terms, irrespective of their level of sophistication. Engaging the services of a reputable trust attorney can help prevent breaches resulting from ignorance.
Among the trustee’s other responsibilities are:
- Prudent management of the trust’s affairs and investments
- Impartiality in decision-making
- Identification and separation of trust property from other assets
- Provision of adequate information to beneficiaries
- Maintenance of comprehensive records
- Issuance of timely reports
Remedies Available in Trust Litigation
In many cases, plaintiffs suing a trustee seek monetary damages to compensate for trust and beneficiary losses. Breach of trust damages typically includes the trustee’s improper profits and the amount required to restore the trust to its original financial position.
However, litigation may pursue other forms of relief, such as:
- Removal of the trustee
- Court orders to ensure the trustee fulfills their duties
- Injunctions against further breaches of duty
- Recovery of improperly transferred trust assets
- Reduction or denial of the trustee’s compensation
No Contest Clauses: A Balancing Act
It’s crucial to consider “no contest” clauses present in many trust agreements. These provisions deny trust benefits to any beneficiary who contests the trust. While courts strive to respect the creator’s intent, they also consider the legitimacy of contests.
Thus, the efficacy of no-contest clauses varies depending on the circumstances.
Trust Litigation Assistance: Partnering with Garrity Traina
Trust litigation is not only highly technical but also fraught with significant emotional and financial stakes. Whether you find yourself as a trustee under scrutiny or a beneficiary troubled by the disregard for your rightful interests, the trusted attorneys at Garrity Traina are here to help ease your concerns. We prioritize amicable dispute resolution and boast a strong track record of success for our clients.
Contact Garrity Traina today to discuss your trust-related concerns. Our consultation is free and carries no obligation.