Trust Litigation Attorney
The Frost Firm provides sophisticated probate and trust litigation services to clients nationwide faced with prospective or pending disputes in State or Federal Courts in the Southern California area. The firm is based in San Diego, California and appears regularly in courts throughout Southern California.
The Frost Firm handles all aspects of probate and trust litigation, including:
- High stakes will and trust contests
- Disputes regarding our clients’ entitlement to distributions from trusts and estates
- Controversies surrounding fiduciary misconduct and accountings
- Surcharge claims for excessive trustee fees
- Fiduciary fraud and self-dealing – read more
- Creditors’ claims
- Financial elder abuse claims – read more
Our probate attorney in San Diego recovered in excess of $8.3 million for trust beneficiary in a structured settlement of Probate Court action before trial. The case involved complex issues relating to the valuation of closely held family companies, estate and income tax consequences of certain transfers of assets held in trust, incapacity and undue influence of an elderly settlor, and excessive trustee compensation.
A $622,000.00 award after trial against a national financial services institution on behalf of an 86-year old customer. The elderly client requested the firm open a joint account with his wife designated as a “Joint Tenants” account with automatic rights of survivorship. The firm mistakenly checked a box on the account opening forms designating the account as a “Joint Tenants in Common” account. Tenants in common, however, do not enjoy automatic rights of survivorship so securities held in this form may become involved in protracted probate proceedings upon the death of a co-tenant. The Award is unique, among other reasons, because there is no such thing as a “Joint Tenants in Common” account designation in California, although this term is often erroneously used by the financial services industry in account forms and policies and procedures manuals. The law in California provides that the term “Joint Tenants”, used alone or with any other words, automatically creates a right of survivorship, so a designation as “Joint Tenants in Common” is improper and a highly problematic misnomer. When the wife died a few months later, the firm refused to correct its obvious error and instead blamed the elderly husband, resulting in a protracted Probate Court litigation. The amount awarded to the client was approximately $100,000.00 more than the total compensatory damages requested and included an award of $272,000.00 in legal fees and costs. Many financial services firms now appear to have taken steps to remove the ambiguous and improper “Joint Tenant In Common” designation from account opening forms.
Schedule a free initial consultation by calling our trust fund attorney in San Diego at 619-822-1740, or contact us online