California Statute of Limitations in Trust Matters [2024 Updated]

Lynard C. Hinojosa

If you are a state resident, then it may be beneficial for you to be aware of the California statute of limitations in trust matters. This topic could come up during a legal case surrounding trusts, so it is important to be prepared for this. There are two limitations to be aware of regarding trust matters in the state.

  • Breach of fiduciary duty. If a breach of fiduciary duty is discovered then you have up to four years to file a claim. This four-year period starts from the day that the breach is discovered or from the day that you should have reasonably discovered the breach.
  • Contesting the trust. If you wish to contest, then you have three months from the time that you receive the statutory notification. A statutory notification informs you about the trust and the details and contact information of the trustee.

Trust Terms to be Familiar With

There are several terms that may be used regarding your trust, and it is important to have a clear understanding of what they are and what they mean.

  • Trust estate. Trust estate refers to any property or assets that are held within the trust. This can be stocks, bonds, money, property, jewelry, or any other assets.
  • Trustee. The trustee is the party tasked with the responsibility of managing the estate that contains the trust. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to act on behalf of that trust.
  • Beneficiary. A beneficiary is any party that is entitled to receive part of the estate.
  • Settlor. The settlor may also be known as the grantor or trustor. This is the party that created the trust.
  • Probate. Probate refers to the court process of distributing the estate for someone who is deceased. This is often the case when executing a will. In most cases, trusts are created so that the fees and potential complexities of probate court are avoided.

Reasons You May Need an Attorney

There can be several reasons why an attorney may be useful during trust matters. Some of the reasons why an attorney may be needed include:

  • There were concerns about the settlor’s capacity when they made the trust.
  • The trustee is not upholding their fiduciary responsibilities.
  • The trust is poorly written or appears to have been tampered with.
  • The trustee refuses to provide the requested information regarding the trust.


Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations on Trusts?

A: The statute of limitations on trusts in California is a provision that provides a timeline for filing a claim. Regarding trusts, the statute of limitations is used whenever an individual wishes to contest a trust or file a claim for a breach of fiduciary duty. The statute of limitations is four years. This time frame starts from the day that you discover the breach of duty or from the date on which you should have reasonably known about the breach of duty.

Q: What Is the Time Limit for Contesting a Trust?

A: The time limit for contesting a trust in California is three months from the trust’s notice date. The notice about the trust is considered a statutory notification, and it will contain specific information regarding the trust and its beneficiaries. In the event that a copy of the document is not provided and it is requested by the beneficiary, then an additional 60 days is allowed to contest the trust. If the 120-day timeframe expires, then you may not be able to contest the trust.

Q: How Long Can a Property Be Held in a Trust?

A: A property can be held in a trust for up to 21 years after the death of the grantor. State law mandates that trusts be terminated within 90 years or no later than 21 years after the death of the grantor. An easy way to think about it is that a trust must be terminated within 90 years of its creation. Therefore, any assets held within the trust can only be held there for up to 90 years before they must be distributed.

Q: How Long Does a Trustee Have to Settle a Trust?

A: There are various factors that can influence the amount of time a trustee has to settle a trust in California. Some trusts may take many months to distribute assets, and some may need only a few months, assuming there are no complications. Some of the influencing factors regarding the time frame of distributing assets can include the complexity level of the estate, specific instructions within the trust document itself; there could be potential disputes between beneficiaries, and any other legal aspects.

Q: How Can a Trust Litigation Attorney Help?

A: A trust litigation attorney can help in several ways. It is common for there to be disputes over a trust and how its assets should be distributed. It is important that the documents and instructions in the trust are followed according to the law. An experienced trust litigation attorney can help ensure that assets are distributed properly and that you receive the portion that you are entitled to. An attorney can also help uncover any fraud that could happen.

A Law Firm That Can Help

Trust law can be a very complex realm of law. The state court system can have strict legal documentation and deadlines that must be met in order to properly process your claim. An experienced attorney can help ensure that you meet all of these necessary requirements. It is very important that you receive the right amount of assets within the trust that you are entitled to. An attorney can help with that.

At Hinojosa & Forer LLP, our legal team has ample experience in helping individuals across California resolve their legal matters. Especially as it pertains to trust law, our legal team has a demonstrated history of helping people understand and resolve their trust cases. Contact our office today to see how our legal team can assist you through the litigation of your trust.




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