Estate Litigation

At Vistas Law Group, we understand that estate litigation can be daunting. Facing legal disputes over a loved one’s estate can add to the emotional toll of loss. But you’re not alone in this journey. Our approach in California is to provide clear and compassionate guidance through the complexities of estate litigation. We strive to resolve disputes efficiently and with a deep understanding of your unique situation. Whether it’s contesting a will, addressing breaches of fiduciary duties, or any other estate-related conflicts, we’re here to help you overcome these challenges with ease and confidence.

Common Types of Estate Litigation

Estate litigation covers a range of legal disputes that can arise after someone passes away, especially when dealing with the distribution of their assets. Let’s delve into some of the common types of estate litigation:

  1. Will Contests: These are legal challenges to the validity of a deceased person’s will. They typically arise when a beneficiary or potential beneficiary believes the will doesn’t accurately reflect the deceased’s intentions. Common grounds for contesting a will include:
    1. Lack of Testamentary Capacity: Arguing that the person who made the will (the testator) did not have the mental capacity to understand the extent of their assets, who should logically inherit them, or the legal effects of creating a will.
    2. Undue Influence: Claiming that the testator was pressured or manipulated into making the will in a certain way, often to the benefit of a particular person.
    3. Fraud or Forgery: Alleging that the will is fraudulent, for example, if someone forged the testator’s signature or tricked the testator into signing it, believing it was a different document.
    4. Improper Execution: Asserting that the will was not executed under legal formalities, such as needing more necessary witnesses.
  2. Trust Disputes: These involve conflicts surrounding the management of a trust. A trust is a legal arrangement in which assets are held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). Disputes can arise over, without limitation, the following:
    1. Administration Issues: disagreements over the interpretation of trust terms or the trustee’s decisions.
    2. Breach of Fiduciary Duty: Where beneficiaries believe the trustee has not acted in their best interest, mismanaged trust assets or failed to account for actions taken.
    3. Trustee Removal: Seeking to remove a trustee for reasons such as incompetence, misconduct, or conflict of interest.
    4. Trust Contest: Seeking to invalidate a Trust based on, without limitation, undue influence and lack of capacity.
  3. Estate Document Interpretation: Sometimes, the language in a will, trust, or other estate planning documents can be unclear or open to interpretation. Litigation may arise to determine the correct meaning and intent of these documents.
  4. Fiduciary Litigation involves legal action against executors or trustees accused of failing to fulfill their duties. Fiduciaries must act in the estate’s best interests or trust. Common issues include:
    1. Mismanagement of Assets: Making poor investment decisions or misusing estate funds.
    2. Failure to Distribute Assets: Delays or refusals to distribute assets to beneficiaries as required by the will or trust.
    3. Lack of Transparency: Not informing beneficiaries or failing to provide necessary accounting and documentation.

Going Through Will Contests and Trust Disputes

Will contests and trust disputes can be particularly challenging. They often arise from concerns about undue influence, capacity issues, or the validity of estate documents. Our role is to provide you with a clear understanding of your legal options and rights. We work diligently to gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and present a strong case, whether in negotiations or court. Our goal is to achieve a resolution that aligns with the true intent of the estate, maintaining family harmony whenever possible.

Resolving Fiduciary Litigation

Disputes involving fiduciary litigation often revolve around the actions or inactions of executors or trustees. Whether it’s a question of mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty, or lack of transparency, our team is equipped to address these issues head-on. We advocate for fairness, accountability, and adherence to the fiduciary responsibilities in California law. Our approach is thorough, ensuring that your interests are well-represented and that the estate is administered just and fairly.

Contact Vistas Law Group for Estate Litigation Support

Facing estate litigation can be overwhelming, but with Vistas Law Group, you have a team ready to support and guide you through every step. Contact us if you need assistance with an estate litigation matter in California. Call in Los Angeles at 213-745-8747 or in the Inland Empire at 909-415-0540 or online  to schedule a consultation.