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Our Attorneys Offer Skilled Representation To Beneficiaries

At Frisella Neilson, APC, our beneficiary lawyers represent beneficiaries of trusts, wills, probated estates, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and annuities in San Diego and throughout California. Beneficiaries may require representation for a number of reasons, whether due to a disagreement or to ensure understanding of the probate or trust administration process.

Adversarial circumstances that require representation can be difficult, particularly when the adversarial relationship is with family members or friends. Our attorneys and staff are highly experienced in estate law and capable of managing both the legal and human aspects of a case. We provide one-on-one advice and personal attention throughout the duration of your legal matter. Our goal is to help you understand your existing options, provide you with new options when possible and to protect your legal interests as a beneficiary.

Our Beneficiary Lawyers Are Ready To Help You

We represent beneficiaries involved in all types and sizes of estates, from small estates to multimillion-dollar estates and those with complex issues. We assist clients who need representation due to concerns about another beneficiary or administrator of an estate. We can assist you in taking the proper legal steps following the death of a loved one whether they died with or without testamentary documents such as a will or a trust.

Our attorneys can assist you in making sense of the related documents and information you may have received regarding the estate. Our experience navigating complex probate matters allows us to help you make decisions that are best for you by providing you with sound legal advice and keeping you fully informed.

Why You Need Your Own Legal Representation As A Beneficiary

The lawyer representing the administrator or personal representative of an estate or the trustee of a trust is unable to advise you about your own legal interests as a beneficiary. You should have your own attorney to advocate for your interests. Our attorneys provide clear and effective legal representation to beneficiaries whether or not the matter is contested. We ensure that you are being treated fairly and that your legal interests as a beneficiary are being maintained.

Litigation is sometimes necessary. You may decide to take legal action if the estate is not being administered properly or in accordance with the decedent’s testamentary wishes. We are experienced trial attorneys who will evaluate all factors and develop an effective strategy to protect your legal interests.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beneficiary Representation

A beneficiary may be named on a trust, on a life insurance policy, through a payable on death (POD) account, a retirement account, an investment portfolio or in someone’s will. If you have been named as a beneficiary or believe that you should have been – such as if you were removed from the will or disinherited – then you may have some questions about your rights.

At Frisella Neilson, APC, we use our decades of combined experience to provide answers and insights for all of our clients. To help you get started, here are some of the questions that our attorneys see most frequently.

What standard of care are trustees obligated to provide?

Under California law, a trustee has to act in a prudent and reasonable manner, using appropriate skill, caution and care. They must act in ways that a reasonable person would in the same situation.

The “reasonable, prudent person” standard means the trustee must make an honest attempt to distribute the trust as intended, putting the beneficiary’s interests first. For example, trustees are sometimes allowed, per the terms of a trust, to use their discretion to decide if or when payouts should be made to a beneficiary. Trustees must follow the instructions for the trust itself, and they should never make decisions for their own financial benefit. Trustees must make decisions fairly, without favoritism to one beneficiary over another.

Does the standard of care depend on whether the trustee is being paid?

In some cases, trustees are assigned the role as part of the estate plan. They may or may not receive compensation for carrying out their responsibilities.

However, the standard of care required is the same whether the trustee is paid or not. A trustee cannot shirk their duty, act negligently or make decisions for their own benefit because they aren’t being paid. Trustees still need to uphold the wishes of the person who created the trust and adhere to the regulations that have been established.

Talk With Us About Your Legal Needs

At Frisella Neilson, APC, our beneficiary attorneys are committed to our clients. If you have concerns, send us an email or call us at 866-334-2614​ to schedule a case evaluation. Some legal claims can only be made within a limited period of time, so taking action quickly is important.