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Can you contest a trust in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Estate And Trust Litigation |

Trusts are known to be a pretty solid estate plan option for many California residents. However, it’s not exactly uncommon for people to be displeased by the results of a will or trust.

Just like wills, you can absolutely contest a trust under a few conditions. Contesting a trust isn’t an easy process, so it’s important to be thoroughly aware of the limitations.

Who can contest a trust?

There are just a few circumstances that make people eligible to contest a trust. For someone to contest a trust, one of the following conditions must be met:

• Devisee of the trust

• Beneficiary of the trust

• Would-be beneficiary if the person had died without a will

These are commonly family members, such as spouses or the oldest child of the deceased. Depending on the state you live in, there may or may not be consequences for contesting the trust (such as giving up whatever may have been left to you).

When can you contest a trust?

You must have grounds for contesting a trust that goes beyond just personal grievances. You must be able to prove that the trustor was:

• Lacking full mental capacity

• Under the influence of someone else

• Not set up properly

In addition, if you have proof that the trust might be fraudulent or against the wishes of a more recent will, that also might be grounds for contesting. It will be up to the person contesting the trust to provide evidence.

What happens next?

After the trust is contested, the probate court is required to investigate the claim. During this time, all probate processes will be paused.

Contesting a trust can take up a lot of time and have large financial consequences if the court does not fall in your favor. It’s important to take your time building up the evidence before deciding to formally contest the trust.