Fresno Trust Litigation Attorneys

A trust is created to provide protection for assets, but all too often issues can arise and require litigation in order to be resolved. The attorneys at Pape & Shewan, LLP, have in-depth trial experience handling disputes involving trusts, wills, probate and more. Each of our lawyers has more than 30 years of legal experience and offer clients straightforward, honest advice.

Attorney Jeffrey Pape leads our wills, trusts and estates practice. As a certified tax law specialist, he offers invaluable advice on dealing with the tax consequences of estate plans, how business law issues can affect your estate plan, probate and more.

Types Of Trusts

A revocable living trust (RLT) partially substitutes for a will. Your assets are placed into a trust where they are administered for your benefit during your lifetime. Most people name themselves as trustee and name a successor trustee who takes over following their death. There are some other advantages as well. An RLT:

  • Names beneficiaries, just like a will names beneficiaries
  • Can be easily amended at any time
  • Gives guidance to successor trustees as to how the assets should be managed or distributed
  • Separates your property from community property assets

The major drawback to an RLT is that the assets are still considered yours for certain purposes. These assets must be disclosed on a Medicare application, are subject to estate taxes when you die and may be vulnerable to creditors in a lawsuit. Similar situations may also arise. Other common types of trusts that we handle include:

  • Charitable trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts

Trust Litigation Cases

Litigating a trust case, particularly high net worth trusts, is complex, and should only be handled by a lawyer with extensive trial experience, who knows how to ask the right questions and can effectively prepare to present your case in court. Fresno trust litigation attorney Jeffrey Pape works with a varying range of clients throughout California facing issues that involve:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty: Trustees have a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries. This means that trustees must follow the terms of a trust, act in the best interests of the trust, avoid conflicts of interest, treat beneficiaries fairly and impartially, exercise appropriate care in managing the assets of the trust and comply with many other obligations in performing the office of trustee. When a trustee violates his or her duties, a beneficiary may commence a proceeding to remove the trustee, trace and recover trust property that has been wrongfully disposed of and compel the trustee to compensate the trust for a breach.
  • Trust contests: A trust instrument may not be valid for several reasons. Attacks on trust instruments can take a variety of forms. A trust may be set aside for many reasons, including a lack of capacity on the part of the person who created the trust and undue influence of a person in causing the trust to be created. Typically, parties who have a right to bring an action contesting a trust are those who would benefit from invalidating the trust. In most circumstances, these people include the beneficiaries of an earlier estate plan or the heirs at law.

Contact The Experienced Team At Pape & Shewan, LLP

Please contact the team at Pape & Shewan, LLP, to schedule an initial consultation to discuss trust litigation or a related legal issue. Call 800-797-5677 or contact our team online. We handle cases in Clovis, Fresno and throughout California.