Guest author Karina Stanhope, a Downey Brand associate, contributes today’s post.
Trust documents should be customized to serve the estate planning objectives of those who create them. While Parent One may want all of her assets to be distributed in equal shares to her children, Parent Two may want to exclude a child from receiving anything or tie up his share until he obtains a college degree or reaches a certain age. Experienced attorneys can draft trust documents that effectuate client wishes using clear and consistent language. However, many times, inexperienced or incautious drafters will leave language that is conflicting or incomplete, and many clients are unable to spot the ambiguity.
California trust litigation often arises from murky trust language, as varying interpretations of trust documents may favor one beneficiary over another. Judges and commissioners of the Superior Court of California are the arbiters of what disputed trust language means. Fortunately, there are code sections and appellate cases to guide the way. Continue Reading