Estate and Trust Litigation AttorneyWe can help you sort out your trust issues, even if they are complex.
If you have been designated as the successor trustee of a trust, you carry the burden of all of the administrative tasks of a trust. To gain a full understanding of your responsibilities, we recommended that you meet with an attorney to find out what your duties are.
Even though many of our clients make efforts to prepare an estate plan during their lifetimes that they hope will avoid litigation at a later time, disputes can still arise in the administration of a trust or the probate of an estate.
Sometimes, large amounts of money are at stake, and sometimes disputes arise just because of the nature and dynamics of family relationships and/or conflicts. We understand that when emotions run high, it can be difficult to navigate and resolve disputes, especially among family members.
We represent both beneficiaries and fiduciaries, including high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as corporate trustees, executors, and non-profit organizations when these disputes arise.
Because of our breadth of experience in estate planning, family law, and tax law matters, we are able to assist clients in even the most complex cases. We understand that different areas of law intersect, especially when families and/or businesses are involved.
We can assist clients with trust litigation, disputes that arise during probate, claims for breach of fiduciary duty, disputes by beneficiaries or heirs, charitable pledge disputes, disputed creditor claims, modification or reformation of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, undue influence, elder abuse, contested accountings, and a variety of other cases.
We understand the legal issues that arise in these disputes, as well as the fact that there may be very fragile and/or dynamic family relationships involved. We do the hard work, and have the hard conversations for our clients while always zealously advocating on behalf of our clients.
We can help you with tax issues, too.
Mendes Weed, LLP, can also assist you with tax issues that arise while you are administering the trust. Whether there are past owed taxes, or if you just need advice on whether there are estate or income tax issues, we are here to help.
At Mendes Weed, LLP, we understand being named as a successor trustee may be stressful, especially if you are serving as a successor trustee for a loved one who has just passed away. We can assist you in administering the trust, meeting your obligations, and defending your actions in the event they are questioned by any of the beneficiaries.
If you have questions about your duties and obligations as trustee, or the benefits of an experienced trust litigation attorney, please feel free to reach out to us today.
Trust Beneficiary Representation
As a Trust Beneficiary, you have rights to get questions answered, receive Trust information, an have the Trust managed competently.
If you feel that the Trust has been mismanaged, or that you have been denied your rights under the Trust, the experienced attorneys at Mendes Weed, LLP can help you.
In general, beneficiaries have rights to:
- The complete and final copy of the trust
- Contest the trust and any of its provisions or amendments
- Information about the trust and its administration, and a report of information about assets, liabilities, receipts, and disbursements
- An accounting, which could include the Trustee’s written statement of receipts, disbursements, the nature and value of assets and liabilities, the Trustee’s compensation, and more
- Contest or object to an accounting and to seek judicial review
- Compel a trustee to administer the trust according to its terms such as avoiding conflicts of interest, avoid self-dealing, and to secure and make trust property productive
- Ask the court to suspend the Trustee’s powers or appoint a replacement
- Seek legal remedies against the Trustee if there has been malfeasance
- Receive timely distributions from the trust
Trustee Legal Representation
A Trustee has an important, ongoing obligation to manage and safeguard the trust, and to report the status and activities of the trust to Trust Beneficiaries.
With such responsibilities sometimes come risks, including challenges to the trust and perhaps to your actions or authority under the Trust.
Under the terms of the Trust and on an ongoing basis, Trustees must:
- Ensure the Trust assets are safe and under your control, that you understand the terms of the trust, and who the beneficiaries are.
- Invest the trust assets, if needed, to ensure the assets are preserved for the beneficiaries.
- Administer the trust according to its terms, including the distribution of trust assets to beneficiaries.
- Prepare and preserve any records, statements, and tax returns as needed, and when required, share these with beneficiaries
- Make any tax decisions relevant to the trust and keep all records on file.
- Communicate with beneficiaries and answer any questions they may have concerning the trust.
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California Trust and Estate Law Specialist
Partner Christina Weed has years helping people with their estate plans and trusts. She is a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy. She serves as Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.
Christina has been designated a Certified Specialist in Taxation by the State Bar of California.
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