Property Disputes Attorneys In Newport Beach Big Law Experience with Personalized Representation ™

Property Dispute Lawyers in Newport Beach

Unfortunately, property disputes after a decedent’s death are not uncommon. Disputes can arise for many reasons, such as disagreements over the validity of the decedent’s trust and/or will, claims by multiple parties to the same property, or accusations of undue influence or fraud or misappropriation.

If there is a dispute over the decedent’s property, it may be necessary to go to court to resolve the issue. This could involve a trust and/or will contest, a partition action to divide property between the multiple parties, or a quite title action to establish clear ownership of property.

To avoid property disputes after a decedent’s death, it is important for the decedent to have a clear and legally valid trust and/or will that specifies how their property should be distributed. It is also important for the decedent to keep accurate records of their assets and to communicate their wishes to their loved ones, so that there is no confusion or ambiguity about their intentions.

OC Trial Group’s attorneys are seasoned in the litigation of property disputes, with the expertise and experience to ensure a desirable outcome in any such matter. If you require our professional consultation or have any doubts, feel free to call us anytime. Our team will provide you with personalized advice on how we can help.

In the event of fiduciary misconduct, OC Trial Group’s top-rated litigation lawyers may provide assistance to undo any damage caused. Our team of experts can help strategize to achieve litigation goals by ensuring compliance, removal or replacement of the fiduciary, and the surcharging of any consequential damage.

What is a Property Dispute?

A dispute over property occurs when there is disagreement regarding ownership or possession of assets. This can extend beyond real estate, to anything from a life-insurance policy or bank account, to personal property such as artwork or cars.

It is important to note that if the property in question is still owned by the decedent at the time of their death and the executor or trustee is tardy in distributing it to beneficiaries, this may not be considered a property dispute, but rather a problem of fiduciary misconduct. In similar circumstances, if the will or trust of the decedent be believed to be invalid, then disputing it may be necessary.

Considering the many parties involved, the possibility of property disputes arising in probate is understandably high. Our team of property dispute litigation attorneys at OC Trial Group, APC can provide assistance despite the nature of your property dispute.

Why Do You Need a Probate Litigation Attorney for Property Disputes in Newport Beach

A probate litigation attorney can provide valuable assistance in property dispute cases. They have the expertise to analyze complex legal issues related to property ownership, transfers, and disputes. They can review relevant documents, gather evidence, and assess the strength of your case. With their knowledge of probate laws and courtroom experience, they can develop a strategic legal approach to protect your rights and interests. They can negotiate on your behalf, pursue alternative dispute resolution methods, or litigate the case in court to seek a favorable resolution and ensure a fair distribution of property.

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  • What Should I Expect at the Hearing and Disposition of an 850 Petition?

    When preparing for the hearing and disposition of an 850 Petition, the petitioner and/or respondent should consider the following:

    i. Continuance Requests: 

    The court is obligated to grant a request for a continuance from an “interested person” when it is necessary to allow time for preparing a response to the petition, conducting discovery, or for other preparation related to the hearing. However, it’s important to emphasize that the right to a continuance hinges on the promptness of the request following the service of the Section 850 petition. Courts are unlikely to delay the hearing if the requesting party delayed in bringing forth the supposed necessity for a continuance. In fact, many courts proactively set extended hearing dates when the petition is filed to minimize the need for potential continuances.

    ii. Prehearing “Surrender Orders:

    In certain cases where it appears that an adverse claimant in possession of the disputed property may attempt to transfer or convey it before the matter is adjudicated, the probate court has the authority to issue a pendente lite order. This order requires the release of the property to the opposing party before a full hearing on the petition takes place. The authority for this action is implicit in Probate Code Section 800, which explicitly grants probate courts the same power and authority as civil courts in general, including the power to grant any injunctive relief.

    iii. No Right to Jury Trial:

    It’s important to note that Section 850 proceedings are not subject to a jury trial. However, in independent civil actions where parties claim an interest in or the right to possession of real or personal property of the estate, the right to a jury trial is determined according to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, not the Probate Code.

    iv. Summary Determination Alternatives:

    Instead of engaging in a full-blown court trial, which can be costly and time-consuming, the Code offers two expedited “summary determination” alternatives that can be considered in place of traditional litigation. If both parties agree, they can opt for summary determination by a designated temporary judge or choose to have the matter resolved through binding arbitration. These alternatives provide more efficient ways to resolve disputes and are encouraged as a cost-effective initial approach.

  • Should You File and Record a Lis Pendens with an 850 Petition?

    In cases involving real property, it’s important to note that either party has the option to file a notice of the pendency of the proceeding, also known as a “lis pendens.” These procedures are the same as those governing lis pendens in civil actions in general.

    While filing and recording a lis pendens is not mandatory, it is generally advisable to do so. This is because, once the notice is properly recorded in the county where the subject real property is located, it serves as constructive notice to the public regarding the pending proceeding. In essence, it alerts “the world” to the ongoing legal action, effectively preventing subsequent claims by bona fide purchasers.

  • How Do I Comply with Notice Requirements Under Probate Code Section 850?

    In Section 850 proceedings, notice of the hearing on the petition must be provided to specific parties in the following manner:

    i. Minimum 30 Days’ Notice by CCP § 413.10 et seq. Service:

    At least 30 days before the hearing, the petitioner is required to serve notice and a copy of the petition according to the procedures outlined for the service of a civil summons under CCP § 413.10 et seq. This service must extend to the personal representative and anyone asserting an interest in or claiming title to or possession of the property, except for those who are also petitioners themselves.

    ii. Notice under Probate Code Section 1220:

    In addition to those individuals who must be served under Section 851(a) (as described above), a minimum 15 days’ notice of the hearing along with a copy of the petition must be provided in accordance with Probate Code Section 1220. This notice should be delivered personally, electronically, or by mail as specified in Probate Code Section 1215 to the persons listed in Probate Code Section 1220 and to each “known” heir and devisee whose interests in the estate would be impacted.

    iii. No Shortening of Notice:

    Unlike most probate matters where the court has the authority to shorten the minimum notice period with a showing of “good cause,” Section 850 proceedings are an exception. The court is explicitly prohibited from shortening the time for giving notice of the hearing under Section 851.

    iv. Content Requirements:

    The notice must contain the following essential elements:

    a) A description of the property in question, providing sufficient details to notify any party with an interest in the property. For real property, the notice must include the street address, or if unavailable, a description of the property’s location and assessor’s parcel number.

    b) A description of the relief being sought under Probate Code Section 859, adequately informing the party against whom relief is requested.

    c) A statement advising any person interested in the property that they have the option to file a response to the petition.

    v. Proof of Notice Given:

    As with all probate petitions that require a noticed hearing, proof of proper service and the required mailed notice in accordance with Section 851 must be provided to the court’s satisfaction before or during the hearing.

    It’s essential to ensure compliance with these notice requirements as they play a critical role in the Section 850 proceedings. However, keep in mind that California Superior Court’s local rules may impose additional content requirements.

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