West Hollywood, CA – a critical issue in Trust and Estate litigation is the determining who has the ability to challenge a trust
Beverly Hills, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/16/2020 --Is it possible for a disinherited beneficiary to challenge a trust? A new article posted by West Hollywood estate lawyer Lars Kushner explains that in Trust and Estate litigation, one of the most critical aspects is determining who has the ability to challenge a trust. For more, go to https://kushnerlegal.com/ability-of-disinherited-beneficiaries-to-challenge-a-trust-part-1/
In part one of the two-part series, the article explains that determining the answer means delving into the scenario involving the change. This is especially relevant in circumstances where competence is in question and there are changes to a previously determined estate plan.
The issue arose in a recent decision of the California Supreme Court, in the case of Barefoot v Jennings. The decision written by the Honorable Justice Chin overturned a decision of the California Court of Appeal and found that the Probate Code allows persons who had their beneficiary status revoked by way of amendment to challenge the amendment if they allege the change came as a result of incompetence, undue influence or fraud. It should be noted that this decision did not consider whether an heir who never had beneficiary status could make the challenge.
In discussing a number of changes made to the trust and the statutory scheme underlying the probate court, the court made the following relevant comment:
Reading the Probate Code section consistent with the statutory scheme as a whole, and examining the statutory language to give it commonsense meaning, we conclude that claims that trust provisions or amendments are the product of incompetence, undue influence, or fraud, as is alleged here, should be decided by the probate court, if the invalidity of those provisions or amendments would render the challenger a beneficiary of the trust
The defendants opposing the challenge argued that this interpretation would be detrimental to the execution of trusts as it would enable persons with no present interest (meaning no beneficiary status) to challenge trusts and could create a raft of litigation.
The Court's response to the defendant's argument will be addressed in the next post. For those involved in estate litigation or those seeking to challenge a will or trust, the team at Kushner Legal estate lawyers on behalf of various parties, including named beneficiaries under a will who seek to protect their inheritance, unnamed beneficiaries who have been wrongly left out of a will or trust. Contact Kushner Legal today to schedule a consultation.
About Kushner Law Group
The Kushner Legal team in Los Angeles, California was founded on the principle that a small law firm should be able to offer the same level of legal advice as a big firm at an affordable cost. A unique combination of legal experience and creativity allows the professionals at Kushner to come up with creative and practical solutions for a variety of legal problems.
For additional information, please visit https://kushnerlegal.com/ or call 310-279-5166.
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