Contesting Trust Amendments in California

Los Angeles Trust Litigation Attorney Explains Your Options

Meeting with an estate litigation attorney in Los AngelesA trust allows a grantor (i.e., the person who creates the trust) to define how they want their assets to pass to their beneficiaries after death. Trustees carry out the terms of the trust, which a grantor may or may not be able to alter without difficulty. Grantors can amend their trusts under the right circumstances. However, there are situations where a grantor may be coerced or manipulated to alter the trust in a way that does not reflect his or her wishes. Sometimes, beneficiaries may not realize the trust was improperly amended until after the grantor passes away. This is when you need a Los Angeles trust litigation attorney who is ready to help.

There are legal options to contest trust amendments. The process for contesting a trust amendment is not easy and may require the services of an experienced trust litigation lawyer. You must meet certain requirements before you can contest a trust amendment. For instance, you must be a named beneficiary of the trust and within the timeframe required under state law. Never wait to speak with an estate litigation attorney, or you could miss your chance to contest the terms of the trust.

The Aslanian Law Firm, PC focuses its practice on trust litigation and personal injury. At our Los Angeles trust litigation firm, we have a commitment to helping families resolve complicated issues with trusts. We can help with issues involving a breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence and contesting trust amendments. Trust litigation lawyer Greg Aslanian can help trust beneficiaries who suffered damages caused by defective trusts or wrongful trust amendments.

California Trust Law and Amending Trusts

Grantors can typically amend a revocable living trust without issue. However, the grantor’s ability to amend  (i.e., change or modify terms)a trust may depend on the terms of the trust and its type.

With an irrevocable trust, the grantor will have an easier time adding amendments if all of the beneficiaries agree to the changes. If the grantor dies, then his or her beneficiaries may seek changes to an irrevocable trust by petitioning the probate court.

Grantors have an easier time modifying a revocable living trust.  Revocable trusts are the more common type of trust document, as it allows the creator to make changes during their lifetime as they see fit .  A modification to a trust can be a change to the terms of the existing trust, usually referred to as an “Amendment”, or it can be a new self-contained trust document, usually referred to as a “Restatement”.  .

There are several reasons why a grantor may amend a revocable trust. These reasons include but are not limited to:

  • Excluding a beneficiary from the trust
  • Adding a beneficiary, such as a new addition to the family
  • Changing the successor trustee
  • Changing the distribution of assets

Challenging a Trust in California

In some cases, beneficiaries may contest a trust amendment or trust after the grantor passes away. You may be able to contest a trust amendment under the following circumstances:

  • The grantor was incompetent. If the grantor was incompetent (not of sound mind) when amending the trust, then it could be grounds to challenge the amendments. This may be possible if the grantor was somehow mentally incapacitated by an illness such as dementia.
  • Undue influence/extortion/pressure. You may be able to contest the trust if the grantor amended the trust due to undue influence. Extortion, fraud or taking advantage of the grantor’s mental state may count as undue influence. You should speak to an estate litigation attorney in Los Angeles to learn more about whether this option applies to your case.
  • Errors/documentary defects. Certain types of errors may allow you to contest the trust. Trusts must abide by California law. If the trust does not abide by state law due to an error, then you should ask an estate litigation attorney whether you have grounds to contest the trust.

Call Our Los Angeles Trust Litigation Attorney

Our Los Angeles trust litigation attorney can help you determine if it would be possible to contest a trust. California estate laws are complex. Certain procedural requirements are necessary to contest a trust amendment. For many people, the process would be time-consuming and difficult without the help of an attorney.

Call our trust litigation attorney in Los Angeles to determine whether you have legal options to contest a trust or trust amendment. You can reach us by dialing (626) 696-2001 or by filling out the confidential contact form on our website.