Estate & Trust Litigation

Estate and Trust Litigation - a person is holding a skeleton key in their open palm

Estate and Trust Litigation

Supportive and effective representation for Trustees and Beneficiaries.

The death of a family member or friend can be confusing, overwhelming and emotional. The attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde can help.

Many people use estate planning tools to help ease the administration of their estate upon their death. A will and trust provide many rights, but also impose duties on both trustees and beneficiaries. Understanding the scope of trust administration is crucial to ensuring that an estate is distributed as the decedent intended.

The trustee has a fiduciary duty to carry out the terms of the trust, but often fails to do so.

If a trustee fails to act properly and timely, litigation may be necessary. When an issue arises with the trust instrument, or distribution of the trust assets, a party may seek assistance with the Probate Court through a Petition.

Beneficiaries and trustees rely on the experience of the attorneys at Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde to assist them through this process. Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde makes sure clients understand their rights and duties under a trust when their loved one has passed away. CKLH provides thoughtful and strategic options to both trustees and beneficiaries.

The Benefits of Estate Planning is choosing who has power of attorney over your estate. The image is a gavel on a stack of files. Can payment come out of the trust?

The main obstacle for beneficiaries is the cost to enforce their rights. When a letter from an attorney doesn’t motivate a trustee to perform their duties, a beneficiary is forced to file a Petition in the Probate Court. The matter then proceeds like any other civil litigation matter, with parties completing written discovery, taking depositions, writing motions, attending hearings, and ultimately having a trial.

A trustee can use trust funds to defend themselves, although they may have to repay it if they are found to have breached their duty. But a beneficiary must pay their attorney themselves. Trust litigation is generally not the type of case that can be taken on contingency.
 
If a beneficiary is victorious at trial it is likely that the Court will order a Trustee to pay the beneficiary’s attorney’s fees. That benefit makes it absolutely worth while for a beneficiary to pursue their rights.

To speak with an experienced attorney in Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde’s trust and probate litigation practice, please call (714) 997-7870, or click here to contact CKLH by email.

Contact Us Today

Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde, LLP
254 S. Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866

(714) 997-7870
info@cklhlaw.com

Clients Share Their Experiences

  • Our Attorney, Julie did beautifully on our Trust matter. It is a relief to know that our Attorney is available if help even after our matter was complete.

    Patricia
    Trust Client
  • My attorney Dana was professional yet tough when she needed to be. I was extremely satisfied with the results of my case.

    Laurie Brown
    Probate Matter
  • Ms. Lopiccolo listened to me and asked clarifying questions. She and her staff were
    were professional as well as personable, and they put us at ease when dealing with our complicated situation. We were very pleased with our experience.

    Mary
    Trust Matter
  • Dana Heyde’s strategic approach to enforcing my rights as a trust beneficiary led to a successful resolution of my matter. Dana Heyde made it possible for me to obtain my inheritance. It was an emotionally stressful process, but Dana’s kind, informative and thoughtful approach set my mind at ease along the way.

    Ashely
    Trust Litigation Client
  • Dana Heyde listened to my concerns and worked with me to achieve my goals. Dana Heyde has solid knowledge of Estate and Trust issues and I am very pleased with the quality of work performed on my behalf. Cottle Keen Lopiccolo & Heyde, LLP is an honest, ethical, and respected law firm dedicated to serving the community.

    Chris
    Trust & Estate Client