California law allows the beneficiaries of a trust to challenge its administration if they believe the trust is invalid or that a trustee has a conflict of interest. However, any challenge to a trust is subject to a strict statute of limitations that determines when a contest can be submitted.
The Timeline for Challenging a California Trust
California has different statutes of limitations for challenging wills and trust. Challenges to a trust must typically be filed within 120 days of a beneficiary having received the notice mandated by Probate Code 160617.7. This notice is supposed to contain specific, detailed information about the trust and its terms.
Once a beneficiary or heir receives this notice, they have only 120 days to contest the trust. If they wait more than 120 days, their challenge will be dismissed without consideration, and they will be forever barred from attempting another contest.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule:
- If the notice does not include a copy of the trust documents, a beneficiary may extend the 120-day period by 60 days if and when they request a copy of the trust documents.
- If the trustee does not send the notice mandated by Probate Code 160617.7, the statute of limitations does not take effect, and a beneficiary or an heir can file a contest at any time.
While California law does allow trust beneficiaries to file “late” contests under certain circumstances, it is almost always best to take swift action in submitting a challenge. Even if the state’s probate code sometimes permits petitions outside the typical 120-day timeline, the court still has the power to dismiss your lawsuit if a judge feels you waited too long or filed in bad faith.
Do You Need The Help Of A Trust & Estate Administration Attorney In California?
If you need legal help with an estate or trust issue you should speak with an experienced trust and estate administration attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 800.756.5596 to claim your space at one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a discount for our estate and trust administration services. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.