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How Do I Contest A Trust in California

How Do I Contest A Trust in California

How Do I Contest A Trust in California

We discuss how do I contest a trust in California. In California, contesting a trust can arise in many different situations. Some of the main reasons for contesting a trust include undue influence, incapacity, mistake, forgery, being omitted, distribution issues, bad acts, misappropriation, failing to make distributions, interloper, and more.

Generally, how do I contest a trust in California is by filing a trust contest regarding the trust distribution. The main steps are finding out if the trust is irrevocable, determining if you have standing to sue, and petitioning the court to dispute part of or the entire trust.


You may have lost a loved one. I am trust attorney Jimmy Hanaie, esq, and I want to begin by offering my deepest condolences to you and your family. However, I understand that very often their can be disputes regarding a trust, will, estate, or deed.

Desired Actions

How Do I Contest A Trust in California

Usually, in a trust dispute case, one of the beneficiaries is interested in making a legal claim to be invaliding a trust, disputing a trust, voiding a trust, or contesting a trust in whole or in part.

Reason For Contesting Trust

The main reasons for contesting a trust are generally due to someone not receiving their fair share. For example, a beneficiary (a person getting something from the trust), may believe there needs to be a change in the trust.

Reasons for contesting a trust in California include wanting to make changes to:

  • Inheritance
  • Gift
  • Bequest
  • Distribution

File A Petition

It is important to file a petition on time with the county court, and it is usually very recommended and beneficial to have an experienced attorney help you in this process. Many attorneys work on a contingency, and only get paid if and when you win.

Where The Trustee Is Located

How Do I Contest A Trust in California

You must generally file the petition in the court administering the trust which is also usually where the trustee is located. Consulting with a trust litigation attorney can help you find out which county court is administering the trust.

Notice of Irrevocability

Under Probate code section 16061.7, the trustee generally sets deadlines and time limits for beneficiaries to take action, otherwise they will usually lose their right to do so later. This will usually be filed with the court and often also mailed to the beneficiaries in certain instances. In many cases, you only have up to 120 days to contest the trust (it is very important to act quickly and hire an attorney).


For most legal cases, including trust cases, attorneys will generally first work to settle the case without resorting to litigation. However, depending on the complexity of the case and the amount in controversy and viewpoints of the parties, it may be very difficult to settle out of court.


How Do I Contest A Trust in California

If settlement was not successful, as part of the settlement process, the parties may choose to have a mediation meeting to see if they are able to compromise and find a middle ground to settle. Many times, a mediation can be a good way of getting more information and potentially resolving the claim one way or another.

Trust Litigation Trial

If settlement and mediation are not successful, the case may go all the way to the courthouse trial. Your attorney will prepare you for the trial by letting you know how the process generally works and what to generally expect.

No-Contest Clause

No-contest clauses are also referred to as terrorem clauses. However, even if there is a no-contest clause in the trust, you should always speak with an attorney to learn more about if the law firm can help you. Most of the time, no-contest clauses can be contested in the right circumstances.

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