Protecting Your Rights In Wills And Trusts
Conflicts that arise from disputes over a loved one’s trust or will have the potential to tear a family apart. At Simon Law, our experienced estate planning and probate attorneys can help you when something is not right regarding a will or trust for which you are, or should be, a beneficiary or an heir. Founding attorney David Simon has experience in trials and with dispute resolution. He is an aggressive and solutions-oriented negotiator who always puts your interests first.
If you have questions regarding your legal rights or how an experienced will contest lawyer may be able to help you, call (415) 523-7847. From our offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California, we represent estate administrators, executors, trustees, beneficiaries, and heirs in will and trust disputes.
The Law On Will And Trust Disputes
In order to successfully contest a provision in a will or trust, you must show that it is invalid due to one of the following reasons:
- Fraud or forgery. If a signature is missing or a will or trust is illegally altered, it may not be valid.
- Undue influence. When someone takes advantage of a vulnerable or elderly person and ultimately persuades them to alter their will, it may be undue influence. This can be grounds to declare a will invalid.
- Duress. The use of threats in order to alter a will or trust is illegal. Such threats could include physical harm or financial exploitation. Changes made under duress are not legally valid.
- Capacity. The person creating the trust must be able to understand fully the legal consequences of their actions. A person with certain medical conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, might not understand changes made to a will or trust.
Breach Of Fiduciary Duty
If a person who is serving as trustee acts in a manner that is careless or goes against the wishes of the decedent, one or more beneficiaries may bring legal action against the trustee. A breach of fiduciary duty claim seeks to recover what is rightfully due a beneficiary according to a will or trust. In addition to paying fines and/or compensation, the trustee may be removed as trustee.
No Contest Clauses
Some wills and trusts have “no contest” clauses, stating that anyone who contests the validity of a provision will receive nothing under the will. When a will or trust has a “no-contest clause,” it is important that you speak to an experienced trust and probate attorney to understand your legal rights and options. A “no contest clause” does not mean you cannot contest the will, but you should fully understand your legal situation and the consequences before contesting a will or trust with a “no-contest clause.”
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
The deadline to contest the provisions in a will or trust is very short. Do not delay in seeking the advice of an experienced estate and probate attorney in California to discuss your options. You can reach Simon Law at (415) 523-7847 or reach us online here.