Time to Open Up

Just because a Trustee is given discretionary power to decide when to make distributions does not mean they can abuse that power.  In this video, partner Keith Davidson discusses when a Trustee must exercise discretion.

  • Cecilia

    If we cannot settle in mediation is the percentage an attorney charges usually 30-40% for probate court?

    • davidsonkeitha

      Yes, the typical contingency rate is around 40%. Not every Trust and Will litigation attorney accepts cases on contingency, but those who do usually use 40% unless you have some type of hybrid arrangement. There are times when we will negotiate a lower percentage on a contingency in exchange for a flat-fee payment up-front. There are any number of ways to structure a contingency case, so it can be fairly creative if need be.

  • M. Diane Schwarz

    When an estate has legally binding duties pursuant to the letter of the law, why is it beneficiaries have to step up and fight so the Trustee performs within the duties granted him by the powers of the state and ferderal laws?
    My brother believes a mental diagnosis fro 30 years ago is his ticket ‘ via undue influence twice now when my mother was on her death bed – to change mothers wishes of equality anong the three wherein sis attorney helped her bilk a home out of the estate on her firsy death bed. She lived five years following, and 10 days before she died she signs a new trust giving trustee 45%. Andvthe two pilfered her estate – a family home of personal property withput my notice of estate sales. Additionally the family home was initially listed with bid rigging in my brothers interest. Yet sis was mad. So they listed again, yet 50 indictments have ensued in the area for bid rigging RE as of late. Sold the home in July 2015 for what. My broker now appraises as $900k short, however county property transfer has yet to be recorded some 6 months later.

    • davidsonkeitha

      That’s a great question. The problem is that there is no one who will hold the Trustee accountable if the beneficiaries do not do so. Beneficiaries have the rights, but there is no other enforcement mechanism other than taking the Trustee to Court.

  • Veronica Campbell

    My fathers Wife of 25 years had m father sign a will 6 weeks before his passing at the age of 91 at the time of signing he was in full dementia cause of listed on death cert she .APS called by bank when wife cleared out safe deposit box 2 months prior to my fathers death. Bank made two reports to APS. then claimed he did not have a will , After my fathers passing Lawyer stated that he does not represent her. we Were not provided a copy of will or Trust until almost 2 years later by requesting it from her. Three Trusts were recorded My fathers sole trust claiming his children as his beneficiarys and an John J Campbell Family trust again naming his children as benificary and a third trust in Her name alone. As time went on we checked records and discovered that she has the house placed as her sole property, going against the trust. And she has de funded the 2 trust naming his children and moved all asset to her sole trust, She also had him sigh a grant deed 6 weeks prior to his passing. Then Recorded the Trust prior to his death avoiding probate for the house. At the time of my fathers death his estimated worth was about 5,000,000.00 including real property, We are looking for help the district Attorneys office is researching the matter. I have written her letters, we have seen 2 attorneys prior to the discovery of her moving assets. We have never has an accounting. And have not received so much as a photo or my fathers special Tee Shirt. I bought him for Christmas.. We are searching someone to take this on pro bono . The house alone is worth 1.6 million. We are willing to pay 50% of all recovery.

    • davidsonkeitha

      We can talk to you about this further. Feel free to call me at 760-804-2711; or email me at keith@aldavlaw.com.