Probate court is not just for probating a Will. In California, the Probate Court generally oversees probate administration cases (that’s where you either have a Will or have an estate with no Will), Trust cases, conservatorships, and guardianships. Probate court does more than that, but those are the big four areas Probate Court handles.
When it comes to Trust cases, the Probate Court has wide authority to oversee disputes involving Trusts. At times, people are confused as to why their Trust matter is going to Probate Court. Isn’t a Trust supposed to avoid probate? Yes it is, but when there is a problem with a Trust, then it is the Probate Court who must oversee that dispute.
For example, if you want to challenge the validity of a Trust document or a Trust amendment, then you would file your Trust contest lawsuit in Probate Court. The same is true if you are having a problem with your Trustee. All Trust management issues are heard and decided in California Probate court too.
But aren’t Trusts supposed to be administered outside of court? Yes they are, but when problems arise, you need to go to court to help reach a resolution. When that occurs, you head to Probate Court. And that’s what we lawyers mean when we use the term “Trust litigation.” It’s just court actions involving Trust issues. For advice on your specific case, don’t hesitate to contact Albertson & Davidson.