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    Tuesday
    Aug212012

    Do trusts avoid court? 

    Trust Litigation

    Trust administrations are generally not court supervised.  Trusts are private documents and the trust administration is handled by the trustee without court involvement. However, that doesn't mean that someone can't contest some aspect of these private documents in court.  

    Many of the same legal issues that invite probate litigation can also be asserted in trust litigation matters, such as:

    • lack of capacity,
    • undue influence,
    • duress,
    • fraud,
    • mistake,
    • improper execution, or
    • disqualified beneficiary. 

    Additionally, there are numerous fiduciary duties that the trustee owes to the trust beneficiaries.  If a trustee commits or threatens to commit a breach of trust, a beneficiary or co-trustee may seek the following relief from the court:

    1. compel or enjoin the trustee from breaching the trust,
    2. compel the trustee to compensate for the breach,
    3. appoint a receiver or temporary trustee,
    4. remove the trustee,
    5. set aside acts of the trustee,
    6. reduce or deny compensation of the trustee,
    7. impose an equitable lien or a constructive trust on trust property, or
    8. trace and recover wrongfully disposed of trust property.

    Besides litigation, a trustee or beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust may also seek court assistance to modify or terminate the trust if there are significant reasons to do so. 

    Do you have questions about how to ensure that a trust has been executed properly? Give me a call at (209) 521-1500 with any trust questions. I am happy to help you develop a trust that seeks to avoid litigation, as well as, represent you as a trustee or beneficiary in court if the need arises.  

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