Probate and Trust Law

Probate Administration

If a person passes away with or without will and he or she owned personal and real property, more than likely the court- supervised legal process called probate will be necessary to transfer the property to the person's rightful heirs.

Probate can be an intimidating process. Indeed, there are petitions to file and publish; a will that needs to be validated by the court; notices to serve on heirs and beneficiaries; bonds to file; estate property to inventory and appraise; debts and taxes to pay; and a myriad of strict laws that must followed at each step of the probate process.

The attorneys at L&D have significant experience handling probate cases and regularly assist their clients to navigate the complicated probate administration process so that cases are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Probate Litigation

The probate administration process is supposed to provide an orderly means to wind up a person's legal and financial affairs after death. However, this process is almost never straightforward. In some cases, disputes arise among family members, beneficiaries, and the individuals managing the deceased person's estate.

L&D’s probate litigators and trial attorneys help their clients successfully resolve a wide-range of disputes that occur during the probate process. The scope of our probate litigation practice covers, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Will contests
  • Beneficiary claims
  • Estate mismanagement
  • Recovery of estate assets
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims against executor/administrator

Trust Administration

If a person dies and he or she has a living trust, then the successor trustee named in the living trust must administer the trust. The process of administering a living trust is similar to probate in many ways. The main difference, however, is that living trust administration is a private process whereas probate administration is a court-supervised process.

Under California law, there are a number of steps that a successor trustee must take after a person dies with a living trust. At L&D, our attorneys are equipped to help successor trustees with trust administration from beginning to end, and can provide as much -- or as little -- assistance as needed.

Trust Litigation

Trust litigation primarily falls into two categories. The first category focuses on disputes related to the validity and/or terms of the trust. The second category of trust litigation focuses on disputes related to the administration of the trust by the trustee.

At L&D, our attorneys assist clients in all types of trust litigation. The scope of our trust litigation practice covers the following areas:

  • Trust contests
  • Beneficiary claims
  • Trust accounting disputes
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims against trustee
  • Trust misappropriation and mismanagement claims