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Property Dispute Lawyers in Orange County

Knowledgeable Counsel for Clients Throughout San Juan Capistrano & Beyond

Property disputes following a person’s death are regrettably common occurrences. Such disputes can arise due to various factors, including disagreements regarding the legitimacy of the deceased person’s trust or will, competing claims to the same property, or allegations of undue influence, fraud, or misappropriation.

When a dispute arises over the deceased person’s property, resorting to legal proceedings to resolve the matter may become necessary. This could entail contesting the validity of the trust or will, initiating a partition action to divide the property among multiple claimants, or pursuing a quiet title action to establish undisputed ownership rights.

To prevent property disputes upon one’s demise, the individual must have a clearly defined and legally sound trust and/or will that outlines how their assets should be distributed. Additionally, maintaining accurate records of one’s assets and effectively communicating one’s wishes to loved ones can help eliminate confusion or ambiguity about their intentions.

At OC Trial Group, our Orange County property dispute attorneys have extensive experience handling such matters and strive to secure favorable outcomes. 

In cases of fiduciary misconduct, OC Trial Group’s highly regarded litigation lawyers are available to provide assistance in rectifying any harm caused. Our team of experts can strategize to achieve litigation objectives by ensuring compliance, removing or replacing the fiduciary, or defending trustees against charges of breach, and recovering any resulting damages.

If you require professional guidance or have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at any time by calling (949) 270-3424. Our team is prepared to offer personalized advice on how we can assist you.

What Is a Property Dispute?

A property dispute arises when there is a disagreement concerning the ownership or possession of assets. Such disputes can encompass various property types, extending beyond real estate to life insurance policies, bank accounts, or personal belongings such as artwork and vehicles.

It’s worth noting that if the property in question still belongs to the deceased person at their passing and the executor or trustee delays distributing it to beneficiaries, this may not be categorized as a property dispute but rather as a case of fiduciary misconduct. Similarly, contesting its legitimacy may become necessary in situations where doubts exist about the validity of the decedent’s will or trust.

Given the complexity of probate proceedings and the involvement of multiple parties, the likelihood of property disputes arising is understandably significant. At OC Trial Group, our team of property dispute litigation attorneys stands ready to provide assistance, regardless of the nature of your property-related conflict.

How Trust & Estate Litigation Attorneys Can Help Your Property Dispute Case 

Engaging the services of a trust and estate litigation attorney proves invaluable in property dispute cases. These legal professionals possess the expertise to dissect intricate matters concerning property ownership, transfers, and conflicts. They are adept at scrutinizing pertinent documents, amassing evidence, and gauging the merits of your case.

Armed with a deep understanding of probate laws and fortified by courtroom experience, they can formulate a well-thought-out legal strategy to safeguard your rights and interests.

Trust and estate litigation attorneys are well-equipped to represent your interests through various approaches. They can skillfully negotiate on your behalf, explore alternative dispute resolution methods, or, if necessary, advocate for your case in court. Their ultimate goal is to pursue a favorable resolution and ensure an equitable distribution of property.

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Why Choose OC Trial Group?

  • A Personalized and Tailored Approach

    Our accomplished attorneys prioritize your goals and meticulously craft a winning strategy custom-made for your success.

  • Offering Free Initial Consults

    Learn how we can help during a free consult. You gain the assistance of a top-rated, dedicated, and results-driven team.

  • Our Track Record Speaks for Itself

    We strive for favorable outcomes and aim to alleviate your burden by shouldering the weight of your case, making your life easier.

How Our Property Dispute Lawyer In Orange County Can Support Your Case

Property dispute cases can be intricate, but our trust and estate litigation attorneys offer a range of ways to assist with your situation.

 

Legal Assessment

A trust and estate litigation attorney conducts a thorough analysis of your property dispute case, ensuring you have a clear understanding of your rights and legal standing.

 

Evidence Collection

Our attorneys diligently collect evidence to bolster your claim, including property records, contracts, and relevant documentation.

 

Crafting a well-thought-out strategy, a trust and estate litigation attorney guides you through the property dispute process, striving for the most favorable outcome.

 

Negotiation Expertise

Our attorneys adeptly represent your interests during negotiations, working toward a favorable settlement to potentially circumvent protracted litigation.

 

Courtroom Advocacy

In the event that court proceedings are necessary, a trust and estate litigation attorney will serve as your advocate, presenting your case and advocating for a favorable judgment.

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Exploring alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, our attorneys seek mutually acceptable resolutions to expedite the process.

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Three Things You Should Know About Property Disputes in California

Property disputes in California can be complex and contentious affairs, often stemming from various triggers and requiring a solid understanding of legal remedies and processes.

Common Triggers for Property Disputes in California

Property disputes in California often arise due to a variety of triggers. One common cause is disagreements over property boundaries, especially in densely populated areas where land is at a premium. Neighbors may dispute where one property ends and another begins, leading to contentious legal battles. Additionally, disputes can emerge when individuals pass away without clear wills or trusts, leaving ambiguities about property distribution. Lastly, real estate transactions can result in disputes if contractual terms are not met or if one party believes they were misled during the transaction process. Understanding these triggers can help individuals proactively address potential disputes and seek legal counsel when necessary.

Legal Remedies and Processes for Resolving Property Disputes

When facing a property dispute in California, it’s crucial to understand the legal remedies and processes available. In many cases, negotiation and mediation can provide amicable solutions without resorting to litigation, saving time and money for all parties involved. However, if these methods fail, pursuing legal action through the court system may be necessary. In such instances, property owners should consult with experienced attorneys who specialize in property law and litigation to navigate the complex legal procedures involved. Understanding the available options for resolution can help property owners make informed decisions when disputes arise.

The Importance of Legal Counsel in Property Disputes

Navigating property disputes in California can be challenging due to the state’s unique laws and regulations. Thus, seeking legal counsel is often paramount. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring property owners understand their rights and responsibilities. They can also assess the strength of the case, gather necessary evidence, and formulate effective legal strategies. Moreover, attorneys can represent clients during negotiations or court proceedings, advocating for their interests and striving for a favorable outcome. Whether dealing with boundary disputes, inheritance-related conflicts, or real estate transaction disagreements, having the right legal support can make a significant difference in resolving property disputes in California efficiently and effectively.

To schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable property dispute attorneys in Orange County, call us at (949) 270-3424 or fill out our online contact form today.

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Our FAQ

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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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