Beaverton, OR asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: I am a beneficiary to a trust/will that has a no- contest clause.

I am a beneficiary to a trust/will that has a no- contest clause. A few months ago, I recieved word that one of the other beneficiaries was planning on taking items and giving them to other family members without permission. I informed the fiduciary and the trust lawyer, who warned her that her actions would be illegal. Last week, I recieved word the other beneficiary had gone through with her plan and sent items to other family members out of state. We are still in the probationary period of the trust where people can contest it. What steps can I take and does this break the no-contest clause? How can we get the items back?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Julie King
Julie King
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The no contest provision in a trust or will relates to challenges to the trust or will itself. For example, if a parent gave everything he owned to one of his two children and the disinherited child challenged (or “contested”) the terms of the trust by bringing evidence that the parent had advanced Alzheimer’s when he signed his trust. In your situation, you don’t appear to be contesting who gets what under the trust. Instead, you are saying that a beneficiary took something that didn’t belong to that beneficiary. That would be a theft regardless of what the trust or will says. Report it to the lawyer who cautioned the beneficiary. The lawyer should take it from there.

Yelena Gurevich agrees with this answer

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