Mistreated Beneficiaries: Translating the Language of Probate and Trust Lawsuits

In California as in other places, a lot of people are normally reluctant participants in estate conflicts. There’s no difference whether the disagreement requires trust lawsuits, probate litigation or a Will Contest. If you work with a qualified probate attorney, many of the stresses can go to the wayside…

Probate Attorneys can help avoid litigationPeople who are frozen out of Wills and Trust usually do not use legal words of art to describe their predicament. Most likely, they are apt to explain themselves as a child whose inheritance was taken by a stepmother, stepfather or caretaker throughout the last months of their mother or daddy’s life.

Getting terminology down in estate related lawsuits is rather complicated – even for attorneys. A “Recipient” indicates an individual to whom a donative transfer of property is made or that person’s successor in interest. A donative transfer is the voluntary gift of property from one individual to another.

The recipient of a donative transfer who receives the present by operation of law in an intestate estate is an “heir.” An intestate estate describes a situation where an individual passes away without leaving a legitimate will.
The recipient of a donative transfer – a gift – who receives the gift by operation of a valid Will in a “testate” estate is a “devisee.”

Now I have to say that I have never had actually a customer pertained to me and tell me that she is a “Devisee” under a Will. Possibly somebody might have stated this a a century back, but unless the customer is a professor of Wills and Trusts, it is an unlikely reference.

Many initial interviews with abused beneficiaries or hurt successors have the initial taste of “Another Somebody Done Someone Incorrect Song” – “A genuine hurtin’ tune about a love that’s failed.” While the love that’s gone incorrect may not be adultery, it is normally a love in between relative that is disrupted by the wrongdoing of another. Such misdeed has real-life adverse emotional and financial repercussions. We are available in to reverse the effects or to lessen them.

Probate litigation lawyers or Trust lawsuits lawyers are engaged by recipients or beneficiaries for lots of factors – among them and commonly disputes about the validity of trusts or trust amendments, the validity of the visit of trustees or the abuse of trusts by appointed trustees, obstacles over the validity of Wills as well as distinctions over what property remains in a Trust or Estate.

The ultimate quest in Estate lawsuits is justice and the effectuation of the intent of the Trust maker (the “Settlor” or “Trustor”) or Will maker (“Testator”). Filing Court of probate petitions and/or Grievances in California Superior Courts bring Court oversight to the determination and timing of Estate disputes. While few relish the prospect of lawsuits we live in a society where nonviolent means of conflict resolution exist. This is the role of the Courts and they do a good task at resolution – resolutions that otherwise appear intractable without the intervention of the legal system.