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Estate Planning and Trust Litigation

Estate Planning and Trust Litigation

BAKER & BAKER: Experienced Trust Litigators in Orange County and Surrounding Cities

Baker & Baker – Lawyers, is experienced in representing all manners of trust litigation clients in the Southern California area. Our clients anyone contesting a trust or managing a trust from a spouse, to a child, to a domestic partner or bank. We are a reputable and hardworking law firm dedicated to the advancement of our client’s rights. We urge you to contact us. We will meet with you, listen carefully to your story, review your documents and advise you of what to expect and how we can assist you.

Are You Involved in Trust Litigation or Contemplating it?

Often an individual creates a trust so as to avoid Probate of their assets on death. In general probate is extremely expensive and time consuming and allows for a court to make decisions about the manner in which assets are distributed and or controlled.  This can last for two years or more. When an individual creates a trust, he gives power over the trust assets to a person called the trustee.  That trustee will manage the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Often this gives rise to disputes of two types: One dispute is over whether the trust was properly created. Questions may arise as to what the trust document means. A trustee may make risky investments which endanger the trust assets or subject them to loss.  The trustee may foolishly mix or commingle the trust assets with his own or worse yet, borrow from the trust for personal reasons. Generally, a trustee’s actions are not court supervised and the trustee is given wide latitude to administer the trust assets.  This often leads to the very problems that give rise to a lawsuit for mismanagement of trust funds.

If this sounds familiar either because you are a trustee and one of the beneficiaries is raising this issue or because you are a beneficiary and months have passed since you should have received your share of trust then you are advised to contact a Trust Litigation attorney.

Can a Trust be Invalid?

A trust is more complex that a Will.  For that reason it generally requires a higher level of intelligence in order to make one.  That said, courts have recently ruled that even though it takes more sophistication and mental agility to make one, it may take something much less to merely amend one.  Often it is the amendment that is most in question (i.e., Mom amends the trust and eliminates the gift to three of four children — leaving it all to the one who lives at home with her and who has no job).   A trust may be invalid on a number of grounds. The person setting up the trust may not have been of sound mind – think Alzheimers Disease or dementia.  Sometimes an older person is tricked into signing a trust that does not reflect their natural intentions because they have been deceived, intimidated or confused by undue influence.  The trust document could even be a forgery or an amendment to the trust could have been forged.  These kinds of Trust litigation matters happen regularly and it is important to have a skilled attorney review the matter and explain the options.  This is crucial. Your Trust concerns will be carefully reviewed and you will be advised as to the best course of action.

William E. Baker, Jr. and Paige M. Baker have handled Trust litigation suits involving trust estates as high as $33,000,000 and as small as $500,000.  The proceeds of the Trust are often the final gift of parents to children.  Having the right attorney can make the difference in seeing that the parents’ intent is ultimately carried out.

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Office Location
  • Santa Ana Office
    1970 Old Tustin Avenue
    2nd Floor
    Santa Ana, California 92705
    Phone: 714-558-4832
    Fax: 714-558-7547