Mistreated Beneficiaries: Translating the Language of Probate and Trust Lawsuits

In California as somewhere else, many people are usually unwilling individuals in estate disagreements. There’s no difference whether the dispute requires trust lawsuits, probate lawsuits or a Will Contest.

People who are frozen out of Wills and Trust typically do not use legal words of art to explain their predicament. Most likely, they are apt to explain themselves as a child whose inheritance was taken by a stepmother, stepfather or caretaker during the last months of their mother or dad’s life.
Getting terminology down in estate associated lawsuits is somewhat complicated – even for legal representatives. A “Beneficiary” implies a person to whom a donative transfer of property is made or that individual’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 gets the gift by operation of law in an intestate estate is an “beneficiary.” An intestate estate describes a situation where an individual passes away without leaving a valid will.
The recipient of a donative transfer – a gift – who gets the present by operation of a legitimate Will in a “testate” estate is a “devisee.”

Now I need to state that I have never had a client come to me and inform me that she is a “Devisee” under a Will. Maybe someone may have said this a hundred years ago, but unless the client is a professor of Wills and Trusts, it is an unlikely reference.
Many preliminary interviews with abused recipients or hurt successors have the initial flavor of “Another Someone Done Somebody Incorrect Song” – “A genuine hurtin’ song about a love that’s gone wrong.” While the love that’s gone incorrect may not be infidelity, it is usually a love between family members that is disrupted by the misbehavior of another. Such misdeed has real-life negative emotional and monetary effects. We are available in to reverse the repercussions or to minimize them.

Probate litigation attorneys or Trust lawsuits attorneys are engaged by beneficiaries or successors for many factors – amongst them and frequently contests about the validity of trusts or trust changes, the validity of the consultation of trustees or the abuse of trusts by selected trustees, difficulties over the validity of Wills in addition to distinctions over what property is in a Trust or Estate.
The supreme 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 Probate Court petitions and/or Problems in California Superior Courts bring Court oversight to the determination and timing of Estate conflicts. While couple of relish the prospect of lawsuits we live in a society where nonviolent methods of disagreement resolution exist. This is the function of the Courts and they do a great task at resolution – resolutions that otherwise appear intractable without the intervention of the legal system.

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