What is a Trust?
A trust is simply a legal entity that divides title to property. The legal title is held by the trustee and the equitable title is held by the beneficiary. A trust is usually set up to avoid a will and going through probate. It is similar in idea to jointly held property, in that, when the person who set up the trust passes away, title to property in the trust will pass to the next beneficiary. This is a very basic description of a trust and there are many other factors that go into creating a trust, but it is an easier way to dispose of property after death.
What is Trust Litigation?
Trust litigation is a lawsuit or petition that involves a trust, whether it is accusing the trustee of misconduct, a beneficiary dispute, or routine adjustments to the trust. Broadly speaking, trust litigation essentially asks the court to referee the internal structure or dealings of the trust and determine when a trust is not operating as it should.
Do I Have a Case?
First, to start litigation involving a trust you need to have standing to sue. You have standing if you are at trustee, beneficiary, or the holder of the power of appointment, power to revoke, or power to withdraw property.
The second aspect is the ground to bring a lawsuit. There are many grounds to petition the court, but they usually involve the trust administration or removing property from the trust.
There are also two categories of petitions. The first is for routine functioning of the trust such as the removal or addition of a trustee. The second is for actions where you believe there has been misconduct or some sort of wrong committed. These actions will typically require a greater investment than the routine petitions. If you have any doubts at all about a trustee or you are a trustee who is involved in a lawsuit or you are looking for routine legal work for a trust please do not hesitate to contact me at (310) 598-7191 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work together to determine the best path forward for your case.