Mistreated Beneficiaries: Deciphering the Language of Probate and Trust Litigation

In California as elsewhere, the majority of people are generally reluctant individuals in estate disputes. Steve F. Bliss a living trust and probate attorney claims that there’s no distinction whether the disagreement entails trust lawsuits, probate lawsuits or a Will Contest. Individuals who are frozen out of Wills and Trust typically don’t utilize legal words of art to explain their plight.


More 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 daddy’s life. Getting terms down in estate associated litigation is somewhat confusing – even for legal representatives. A “Beneficiary” means an individual to whom a donative transfer of residential or commercial property is made or that individual’s follower in interest. A donative transfer is the voluntary gift of home from one person to another. The recipient of a donative transfer who receives the present by operation of law in an intestate estate is an “successor.”


An intestate estate describes a scenario where a person dies without leaving a valid will. The recipient of a donative transfer – a gift – who receives the present by operation of a valid Will in a “testate” estate is a “devisee.” Now I have to say that I have actually never had actually a customer come to me and tell me that she is a “Devisee” under a Will. Possibly someone might have stated this a century ago, but unless the client is a professor of Wills and Trusts, it is an unlikely recommendation. Many preliminary interviews with abused recipients or hurt beneficiaries have the initial taste of “Another Somebody Done Somebody Incorrect Tune” – “A real hurtin’ tune about a love that’s gone incorrect.”

While the love that’s gone incorrect might not be infidelity, it is typically a love in between family members that is disrupted by the misdeed of another. Such misdeed has real-life unfavorable emotional and monetary effects. We come in to reverse the consequences or to minimize them. Probate lawsuits lawyers or Trust litigation lawyers are engaged by recipients or successors for lots of reasons – amongst them and commonly challenges about the credibility of trusts or trust changes, the credibility of the consultation of trustees or the abuse of trusts by appointed trustees, challenges over the validity of Wills as well as differences over exactly what residential or commercial property remains in a Trust or Estate. The ultimate quest in Estate litigation is justice and the effectuate of the intent of the Trust maker (the “Settlor” or “Trustor“) or Will maker (“Testator“).

Filing Court of probate petitions and/or Problems in California Superior Courts bring Court oversight to the determination and timing of Estate disputes. While few relish the prospect of suits we reside in a society where nonviolent ways of conflict resolution exist. This is the function of the Courts and they do an excellent job at resolution – resolutions that otherwise seem intractable without the intervention of the legal system.

Steven F. Bliss Contact Information is Below:

41593 Winchester Rd. #200

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Temecula, CA 92590

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Ph: +1 (951) 223-7000
Fax: (858) 268-8664

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