Trust, Estate & Conservatorship Litigation

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Trust, Estate & Conservatorship Litigation

A Leading Trust, Estate And Conservatorship Litigation Firm

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At Hinojosa & Forer LLP, we focus on litigation resolution. Estate disputes are not occasional cases for our attorneys, but the primary focus of our practice. That focus can be an advantage for you. It allows us to avoid mistakes that can seriously affect the outcome of your case. Throughout our decades of work, we have seen individuals and attorneys attempt to resolve trust, estate, and conservatorship disputes using methods that harm everyone involved.

Our goal is to provide strong, effective representation that focuses on your best interests and seeks to minimize the length and cost of the dispute. The emotional strain of probate and trust litigation proceedings can be extremely challenging, especially when the parties to the litigation are family members, but a good Los Angeles estate litigation attorney can streamline your case and help you understand your options for resolving the matter. Hinojosa & Forer LLP has years of experience representing clients in tough litigation and can assist you in resolving your current case successfully and efficiently.

What Is Estate Litigation?

Estate litigation is defined as the legal process that attempts to resolve any estate-related matters. If someone dies but did not assign their property to another party, and if their will is believed to be invalid, then the estate litigation process is used to determine what to do next. If a will is created prior to death, then the decedent’s heirs, charities, and family will receive their assets with little issue. However, should there be a dispute over the will, this can lead to probate litigation, which is the process of disputing trusts and contesting wills.

Most estate litigation cases use a mediator to help solve the issue and prevent arguments from getting out of hand. Mediation isn’t required by law, but this method is effective in helping both parties cooperate and reach a compromise. Should mediation fail, the court can schedule a hearing on trial.

Estate litigation can be a very complex and overwhelming process with many details that can be easily missed. However, if you’re looking for a Los Angeles estate litigation lawyer who can help you through the process, we can help.

What Is Trust Litigation?

A trust can be created to minimize estate taxes and offer other benefits to a third party, called the trustee. Trusts are most often created when someone, called the settlor, wants to place their assets, such as money, real estate, or insurance policies, into the care of the trustee. When there is a dispute over a trust, trust litigation attorneys are usually brought in to settle the issue. There can be several reasons why a dispute over a trust can occur, including fraud, violating California law, and elder abuse. Certain trust agreements also explain how disputes should be resolved, but even these cases can be difficult to comprehend fully.

Should a settlor pass away, trust administration must be performed. Through this, the trustees must work with the beneficiaries in the trust to work out a resolution. It’s crucial to have a lawyer with you at all times throughout a trust litigation case, as these can become overwhelming. Our team is willing to provide our services for you.

How Conservatorship Is Defined

If someone is incapacitated or mentally unfit to care for themselves, a court can appoint a person to manage their financial and personal affairs. This is called a conservatorship. The conservator, similar to a guardian, will be responsible for the conservatee’s finances. This means they can limit how much they spend, who they choose to spend time with, and more. There are three main types of conservatorships:

  1. General Probate – This type is meant for people who are unable to acquire their basic needs on their own due to injury, dementia, or other reasons. These people are typically subject to undue influence, and in certain cases, this can lead to elder abuse cases.
  2. Limited – The authority the conservator has is limited in this conservatorship type, and the conservatee will have more freedoms than other conservatees. If a person is developmentally disabled, they tend to fall under this category.
  3. Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) – If someone is severely disabled due to a mental disorder and becomes a danger to themselves or others, they can be placed in an LPS conservatorship. In this arrangement, a conservatee can be placed in a psychiatric facility, though they still retain several rights and protections to avoid being manipulated.

While conservatorships can be beneficial to some parties, disputes can arise, such as a conservatee’s rights being violated and if a conservator no longer wants to be a part of the agreement. It’s crucial to speak with an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate this complicated case.

Benefits of Legal Counsel in Estate, Trust, and Conservatorship Litigation

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Any litigation can be daunting, but estate, trust, and conservatorship disputes often involve complex and emotionally charged family dynamics. Hinojosa & Forer LLP have helped many past clients navigate their cases efficiently, and we have broad professional experience handling a wide variety of estate, trust, and conservatorship disputes for clients throughout the Los Angeles, CA, area.  Other attorneys often refer their complex litigation cases to us.

Our areas of practice include:

  • Contested documents — Who has the legal right to challenge a will, trust, or other estate planning instruments? And on what basis? We can explain the legal options and possible outcomes of disputes regarding wills, trusts, powers of attorney, or other estate planning documents.
  • Conservatorship disputes — In conservatorship litigation, we represent either side in a given case, whether it is petitioning the court to establish a conservatorship of the person or estate or opposing an unwarranted conservatorship on behalf of the proposed conservatee. Our firm can also help resolve conservatorship disputes that arise when family members believe a conservator has failed to uphold their legal responsibilities to the conservatee.
  • Allegations of undue influence or lack of capacity — Has someone benefited after pressuring the decedent to make certain dispositions in a will or trust? Did the party participate in the drafting of the document? Did the party isolate the decedent? Did the decedent lack the legal capacity to execute a document at the time the document was executed? For any estate, trust, or conservatorship designation to be legally enforceable, the document’s creator must have the legal capacity to create the document in the first place. Moreover, said document must be the result of the decedent’s freely exercised intent, and not due to any undue influence.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty and related fiduciary disputes — Our experience can help find a resolution to allegations that a trustee or other fiduciary has been irresponsible or stepped outside the scope of his or her duties and caused damage or defend fiduciaries against such allegations. Anyone who intentionally or carelessly breaches a fiduciary duty in any estate, trust, or conservatorship matter faces liability for any damage their actions cause to the beneficiaries or conservatee they are supposed to protect. We also often help clients prepare or compel accountings in connection with fiduciary disputes.
  • Financial elder abuse — Many estate matters involve people dealing with health conditions or situations that are ripe for financial abuse. We’ve seen many cases of elderly people becoming victims of elder abuse. It is important to know the remedies for financial elder abuse and the effect of such a finding on the abuser’s inheritance. These cases are more complicated than they appear at first, especially if the family is involved. We can help you navigate this complex situation and address any concerns you have.
  • Probate administration — If a person dies with no estate plan in place or a will is admitted to probate, the probate court will oversee the administration process. This can be notoriously tedious and time-consuming, and you need experienced administration counsel you can trust to guide you through the probate proceeding. Losing a loved one can be a stressful time for everyone, and you may miss out on crucial information that is needed. Should you have any questions about this process or what your rights are, we’ll be ready to assist you.

Estate, trust, and conservatorship disputes are often multifaceted and emotionally stressful for everyone involved. Having legal counsel you can trust readily available to address your concerns and answer your questions is an invaluable asset for navigating these difficult cases.

When you choose Hinojosa & Forer LLP to represent you, our team will work quickly to determine what challenges you are most likely to encounter in your efforts to resolve your case. Our goal is to help you approach the situation with confidence and peace of mind.

Effective, Efficient Resolution Of Trust, Estate And Conservatorship Disputes

Litigation over estates, trusts, and conservatorships can be incredibly tense, and tempers can easily flare in ways that make resolving the case seem impossible. It’s important to remember that while every litigator is an attorney, not all attorneys are litigators. A litigator is an attorney familiar with active courtroom procedures for resolving client cases. They are comfortable appearing in court, representing clients in front of local judges, and interacting with various aspects of the Los Angeles civil court system on behalf of their clients. While many attorneys practicing various types of law tend to avoid litigation whenever possible and settle their clients’ cases outside of court, that is not what you can expect from Hinojosa & Forer LLP.

FAQs

Q: How Much Do Lawyers Charge to Settle an Estate in California?

A: There is no set cost on how much lawyers charge, but there are certain factors that will influence the amount. To determine how much this process will cost you, you’ll need to know the hourly rate of your lawyer, the fixed flat rate, and the percentage of the estate’s value. Speak with your lawyer immediately if you’re unclear about the cost of their services.

Q: Do I Need a Probate Lawyer in California?

A: There is no law in California requiring you to have a probate lawyer. That being said, estate, trust, and conservatorship litigations can be very difficult to navigate on your own. By hiring a lawyer, they can address any questions or concerns you have while helping you achieve the best results possible.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle an Estate in California?

A: This is dependent on your case and if there are any disputes that need to be addressed. However, most estate litigation cases last between six months to two years. There are several steps involved in the process, and each one needs to be completed accurately and efficiently. If a step in the process isn’t addressed completely, this can cause the case to last longer. The goal, however, is to complete your case properly, not quickly.

Q: Do All Heirs Have to Agree to Sell Property?

A: If the property has been fully transferred to the heirs, then they must all agree to sell the property. However, if this hasn’t been transferred and the property is still under estate proceedings, then the administrator can decide what to do with the property. If you’re an heir who does not want to sell property while the other heirs do, a qualified lawyer can provide you with options.

Find Your Legal Team Today

The right attorney can significantly impact the outcome of any estate, trust or conservatorship case. Hinojosa & Forer LLP has years of professional experience representing clients in difficult litigation and helping them navigate through complicated issues.

Our goal is to help our clients understand all of the complex legal mechanisms in their cases. Our team can assist you with all aspects of estate administration, and help you resolve disputes regarding a trust, will, or conservatorship. The sooner you secure legal representation from a trustworthy Los Angeles estate litigation attorney, the better your chances are of reaching a positive outcome to your case.

Hinojosa & Forer LLP is ready to assist you with any trust, estate, or conservatorship-related dispute you face in Los Angeles County. Please contact our firm in Los Angeles to schedule an initial meeting to discuss your trust, estate or conservatorship matter. We can be reached at 310-473-7000 or by sending an email.

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