Resolving Contentious Trust & Estate Disputes

At Van Dyke & Associates, APLC, our trial attorneys limit their practice exclusively to trial court litigation and appellate law for probate, trusts and conservatorship cases. Referred by financial advisers, accountants and other attorneys, our lawyers are renown for substantial victories in favor of our clients in trial and appellate courts in California.

Resolving Contentious Trust & Estate Disputes

We have more than two decades of experience successfully reaching favorable outcomes for complicated disputes involving probate, trusts, estates, and contested conservatorships.

Resolving Contentious Trust & Estate Disputes

We are not estate planning lawyers and do not engage in any related transactional work. By limiting our practice solely to Trusts & Estate Litigation, we are able to draw on decades of civil litigation experience and have earned substantial victories for clients in trial and appellate courts throughout California.

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Power-Packed Probate Litigation

When a battle is on, wage intelligence. At Van Dyke & Associates, APLC, our attorneys focus exclusively on trust and estate litigation. We listen carefully to your circumstances, explain your legal options and help you make smart choices.

Conflicts that arise during the administration of a decedent’s estate or trust involve more than legal issues. These disputes often degenerate into lengthy contentious emotional battles often involving stepparents, siblings, or close family relatives. At Van Dyke & Associates, APLC, in San Diego, we are a boutique law firm with the unique skill, experience, and reputation in this area of law to resolve these contentious disputes. Litigation relating to probate issues, trust administration, and other related matters are all we do.

Greed, or a desire to rectify perceived family discourse, seems to be the central theme of numerous cases involving disputes among siblings, which becomes especially acute when one or more siblings are nominated to serve as fiduciaries. Finally, old age and incapacity eventually dictate that an elderly parent will not be able to successfully manage the financial affairs of a complicated A/B Trust created by husband and wife in better times. Complex sub-trust asset allocation and funding made necessary by the tax code decades ago is rarely required under the present regimen, yet these antiquated trusts must be now administered according to the terms of such trusts when the first trustor dies. A surviving spouse’s disregard of the fiduciary duties required to properly administer an irrevocable decedent’s sub-trust often creates a forensic accounting problem requiring expert witness testimony to trace and reallocate dissipated assets.

Our attorneys are uniquely qualified to litigate petitions in probate court in order to efficiently and promptly solve these complex legal problems. 

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There are many reasons probate disputes arise. Probate litigation is almost never planned or contemplated by a loved one. Yet, our clients find themselves embroiled in such litigation often because of poor parental estate planning, or a high-risk distribution scheme resulting in unwarranted disinheritance or other inequitable treatment. When conflict is keeping your loved one’s estate from proper distribution, contact attorneys who understand the nuances of probate law and the appellate courts. We take the time to thoroughly answer your questions.

The lawyers at Van Dyke & Associates, APLC, are skilled trial attorneys that apply their extensive litigation experience to probate court litigation, exclusively. Probate court trials are conducted by a probate court judge, rather than a jury. While the Code of Civil Procedure and Evidence Code apply equally to a probate court trial, such proceedings are unlike a civil bench or jury trial. In probate litigation, often there are several independent petitions pending in the same case at the same time, each of which may result in probate court orders some of which may be separately appealable, while other orders are not. This can result in a probate case that is pending in the trial court and the appellate court simultaneously. To complicate matters, the probate court has the authority under the Probate Code, to hear and decide piecemeal issues raised in various petitions, in a separate evidentiary hearing prior to a full trial on the merits of the petition. The complexity of probate court litigation dictates the selection of experienced probate litigation counsel.

Probate trial judges are typically fair, even handed and extremely knowledgeable in the application of probate law to the cases before them. However, even the best-intentioned trial judge errs occasionally on the correct application of probate law to a uniquely complex case. Our attorneys seek review of such decisions from the appellate courts when necessary to rectify unwarranted disinheritance or other inequitable treatment by a trial court. Our history of successfully reversing erroneous trial court decisions is notable.

More Than Two Decades Of Probate Court Litigation Experience

We represent potential beneficiaries, trustees and executors facing complex or contentious probate and trust matters to ensure compliance with a decedent’s wishes and instruction. Our attorneys have built a respected reputation amongst our peers and by the probate court judges. We protect our clients’ rights to their rightful inheritances, even when it means taking a case to the appellate court to overturn an adverse lower court ruling or to defend a favorable trial court ruling.

Not every probate attorney is capable of handling matters involving complex litigation and trial, as well as post-trial relief. We are. Our attorneys carefully monitor developing legal authorities in trust & estate law, introduction and quality of evidence, legal interpretation, testimony admission procedures and other challenges. Van Dyke & Associates, APLC, also assists other law firms with complex probate court litigation.

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