Mistreated Recipients: Deciphering the Language of Probate and Trust Litigation

In Estate Planning by Taylor Stevens

In California as elsewhere, many people are normally reluctant participants in estate disputes. There’s no distinction whether the conflict requires trust lawsuits, probate litigation or a Will Contest.

People who are frozen out of Wills and Trust typically don’t use legal words of art to describe their predicament. More most likely, they are apt to describe themselves as a son or daughter whose inheritance was taken by a stepmother, stepfather or caregiver during the last months of their mom or father’s life.
Getting terms down in estate associated litigation is rather confusing – even for attorneys. A “Recipient” implies an individual to whom a donative transfer of property is made or that individual’s follower in interest. A donative transfer is the voluntary gift of property from someone to another.

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

Now I need to say that I have actually never had a customer concerned me and inform me that she is a “Devisee” under a Will. Perhaps somebody may have stated this a hundred years back, but unless the client is a professor of Wills and Trusts, it is a not likely reference.
Many preliminary interviews with mistreated recipients or hurt successors have the preliminary flavor of “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Tune” – “A genuine hurtin’ tune about a love that’s gone wrong.” While the love that’s failed may not be infidelity, it is normally a love between relative that is interrupted by the wrongdoing of another. Such misdeed has real-life negative psychological and monetary repercussions. We are available in to reverse the repercussions or to decrease them.

Probate lawsuits attorneys or Trust lawsuits lawyers are engaged by beneficiaries or successors for many reasons – amongst them and typically contests about the validity of trusts or trust modifications, the validity of the appointment of trustees or the abuse of trusts by appointed trustees, obstacles over the credibility of Wills as well as differences over what property remains in a Trust or Estate.
The ultimate quest in Estate litigation is justice and the effectuation of the intent of the Trust maker (the “Settlor” or “Trustor”) or Will maker (“Testator”). Filing Probate Court petitions and/or Grievances in California Superior Courts bring Court oversight to the determination and timing of Estate disagreements. While couple of relish the possibility of suits we live in a society where nonviolent methods of disagreement resolution exist. This is the role of the Courts and they do an excellent task at resolution – resolutions that otherwise seem intractable without the intervention of the legal system.