The administration of trusts and estates in California is often subject to disputes. At times, the validity of a will or trust may be challenged, claims of fiduciary misconduct may arise, or a testator’s capacity or intentions may be in doubt. Whether you are a personal representative, a trustee, or a beneficiary, it is essential to consult an experienced trust and estate litigation attorney to protect your interests.
At Loew Law Group, PLC, we represent clients in trust and estate litigation throughout California – including the Peninsula, Silicon Valley, the Greater Bay Area, and Northern California, as well as serving San Mateo and San Mateo County including Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City, and Redwood City. We know that these matters can be complicated by emotions resulting from grieving the loss of a loved one and complex family dynamics. By providing our clients with objective insights, we work to reach negotiated resolutions to trust and estate disputes. If litigation becomes inevitable, our estate planning attorneys also know their way around the courtroom. When you become our client, you can rest assured your interests will be protected.
Common Trusts and Estate Disputes
Because people are living longer today than in the past, challenges over the testator’s capacity or vulnerability to undue influence have sadly become increasingly common. Moreover, disputes between the beneficiaries often arise, particularly when there is a lot of money at stake, while personal representatives and trustees may face allegations of fiduciary misconduct. Caregivers, friends, and even family members may engage in financial elder abuse, or may be wrongfully accused of such abuse.
Finally, a conservatorship may be sought if the elder is losing capacity or is being subjected to undue influence or elder abuse. Loew Law Group, PLC, is prepared to step in and seek a conservatorship, where appropriate, or to challenge a demand for conservatorship if our client objects to the appointment of a conservator.
At Loew Law Group, PLC, we devise innovative solutions to all types of trust and estate disputes, such as:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Beneficiary disputes
- Contested heirship
- Fraud, coercion
- Incapacity or undue influence
- Contested powers of attorney
- Contested trust accountings
- Modification of wills and trusts
- Elder financial abuse
- Will contests
- Trust validity
- Third-party creditor claims against an estate
- Conservatorship disputes
Our trust and estate litigation attorneys are well-versed in the applicable probate and trust laws in California and have a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in and out of court. We are keenly aware that a prolonged dispute can be an emotional burden for family members and believe that these matters can often be resolved through mediation or arbitration. If a negotiated settlement is not feasible or unwarranted, particularly if there has been fiduciary misconduct, we are quite capable of litigating trust and estate disputes in the probate courts.
Mr. Loew is a trained and experienced mediator, and Loew Law Group provides mediation services for parties seeking to resolve their trust and estate litigation disputes without the need for a lengthy and expensive trial. Please contact our offices for more information about our mediation services and rates.
Expert Witness Testimony
Mr. Loew has frequently been retained as an expert to provide testimony in disputes concerning estate planning, trust, and probate law. His testimony, presented through expert reports, deposition, mediation, and at trial, has been instrumental in achieving positive outcomes for many clients.
How to Avoid Trust and Estate Litigation
Through the years, we have seen how disputes frequently arise over the terms of a will or trust. As estate planners and trust advisors, we believe that a well-conceived estate plan can help to avoid trust and estate litigation. Above all, it is crucial for estate planning documents to be properly drafted to ensure the terms are clear and unambiguous.
At the same time, creating an estate plan is not a “once and done” arrangement. Therefore, trust and estate documents should be updated periodically as changes occur during the testator’s or grantor’s lifetime — marriage, having children, divorce, remarriage, retirement. Similarly, beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts should be updated to align with changes to the estate plan.
In addition, personal representatives and trustees must be competent and adhere to the highest ethical standards when managing the estate assets. In a trust-based estate plan, for example, the trustee must keep and maintain detailed, accurate records and must often provide beneficiaries with a trust accounting on an annual basis. At Loew Law Group, our experienced trust administration attorneys work to ensure that all of the trustee’s actions are transparent and the beneficiaries’ rights are protected.
The best way to avoid trust and estate litigation is by communicating. It is important to discuss the arrangements in a will or a trust with family members so that they understand the reasoning behind an intended distribution plan. Ultimately, estate planning requires proper legal representation; having a trust and estate attorney prepare the related documents can help to withstand legal challenges.
Contact Our California Trust Litigation Lawyer
If you have questions about the validity of estate planning documents, a fiduciary’s conduct, or any other concerns over the administration of a trust or estate, we can help. Backed by a thorough understanding of trust and estate law and a proven history of protecting the rights of our clients, we will work to explore all of your options. We have helped clients from all over San Mateo County including Burlingame, Belmont, Redwood City, Foster City, and Hillsborough.
Our trust and estate litigation attorneys routinely represent personal representatives, trustees, corporate fiduciaries (such as banks and trust companies), conservators, and beneficiaries, including families, high net-worth individuals and charitable beneficiaries. We understand the overlap between trust and estate administration issues and related matters such as taxes, real estate and insurance. When you become our client, you can rely on our knowledge, business acumen, and first-rate legal representation.
At Loew Law Group, PLC, we recognize that litigation can have long-lasting consequences for family members and fiduciaries and work to find solutions to the most involved trust and estate disputes. When litigation is inevitable, our experienced trial attorneys have a proven track record of achieving favorable settlements. At the same time, we also provide comprehensive estate planning services that can help to avoid trust and estate litigation. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation.