Trust and Estate Planning Expert Witness Los Angeles and Surrounding CountiesFor cases within Los Angeles and surrounding counties, a trust and estate planning expert witness is needed by an attorney during discovery to develop the claims and evidence. Failure to do this might result in important claims being lost. A trust and estate planning expert witness is a person with special knowledge, skill, experience, training and/or education in this specialty that goes beyond the experience of many attorneys. The role varies from case to case, but a trust and estate planning expert witness can serve as a consultant to an attorney and be used in the pre-trial stages of a litigated case. He or she might be representative of a trust and estate planning expert witness at trial, or provide consulting. An expert can qualify as a trust administration expert or as an attorney.
A living trust is an important tool to avoid probate. If a person has a living trust, it appoints a trustee that is responsible for making sure that decedent's wishes expressed in the trust are complied with. The trustee administers the trust assets and the court is not involved in the process. A trust and estate planning expert witness in Los Angeles can provide advice or testify at trial as to whether the living trust's administration and distribution of trust assets were done in a proper manner. In addition, the trustee has to comply with both California law and federal tax law. To comply, a trustee will need the advice and assistance of an attorney, accountant and potentially a tax expert. In fact, in California, due to California's complex and unique rules for taxing trusts, a trust tax attorney is instrumental in understanding and applying California's rules to avoid negative tax implications. A trust tax attorney can also serve as a financial expert in trust litigation. Moreover, an attorney that is a tax expert, as well as a licensed fiduciary, helps the trustee to properly administer and distribute the trust estate, as well as comply with the state and federal tax laws.
A trustee is also required to provide a trust accounting to the beneficiaries at least annually or as provided in the terms of the trust. A trust and estate planning expert witness in Los Angeles assists the trustee with the preparation of a proper accounting. A trust and estate planning expert witness can also assist the beneficiary to review and analyze the information in the trust accounting. Moreover, if the beneficiary is involved in litigation with the trustee, the beneficiary can use a trust and estate planning expert witness to testify as to the problems discovered in the trust accounting and the damages caused by the trustee.
A trustee's duties become more complex if a special needs trust is involved. The special needs trust administration mandates that the trustee understand the type of public benefits available for California persons with disabilities and how the special needs trust disbursements will affect these public benefits. Moreover, the trustee must assess what is the best pay for a person with a disability's housing, caregiver costs, transportation, and related expenses. Furthermore, the trustee should know how to handle the special needs trust investments, accountings and taxes. A trust administration and taxation attorney is instrumental to a trustee entrusted with the administration and distribution of a special needs trust. A trust administration and taxation lawyer is able to blend efficient trust administration with tax savings because of his unique combination of skills: his knowledge and experience as a trust administration lawyer, and his knowledge and experience as a trust tax lawyer.
A trust and estate planning expert witness' special knowledge is also needed if a trustee breaches his/her fiduciary duty owed to the beneficiaries of the trust by taking, embezzling or commingling funds, not making or withholding distributions, not paying money or giving property to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust, taking money or property from the trust or estate instead of distributing it to the beneficiaries, losing or mismanaging trust property, and charging excessive fees. If the trustee's wrongdoing is directed at elders, it could amount to financial elder abuse. A trust and estate planning expert witness can be retained as a consultant, as well as to testify at trial in a financial elder abuse case.
If beneficiaries are unhappy with the trustee's administration or distribution of the trust assets, they could act to remove the trustee. If the trust lacks provisions allowing for the removal of trustee without court involvement, the beneficiary can file a petition with the superior court in the county where the trust is being administered and ask for the removal of the trustee. A trust and estate planning expert witness will be necessary to either provide advice in the pre-trial stages of the petition for removal of trustee, or to testify at trial.
Tucker Cheadle is an attorney, licensed trustee as well as a tax expert. As a professional trustee, he has acted as a fiduciary, trustee, executor, and administrator on more than 100 trusts and wills. He has also served as a trust and estate planning expert witness in cases filed in the Los Angeles County, Orange County, the surrounding counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and in Santa Maria. He has acted as a trust and estate planning expert witness in Reno, Nevada and in Cleveland, Ohio.
Call Tucker Cheadle at 949-553-1066 to discuss with him your trust and estate planning expert witness needs for your trust or estate planning issues.
A review of any materials on this web page, any preliminary comments or an introductory meeting does not constitute legal, income tax or accounting advice upon which reliance can be placed. The attorney client relationship can only be created by a written retainer agreement following a check of potential and actual conflicts of interest with other clients.