Probate Court Has Broad Equitable Powers To Award Fees In Trust Challenges.
In Tyler v. Davis, Case No. D069463 (4th Dist., Div. 1 Sept. 21, 2016) (unpublished), a trust beneficiary and a named trustee were awarded $140,000 in attorney’s fees by a probate court after defeating challenges by other trust beneficiaries based on statute of limitations and standing grounds. That stood up on appeal.
The probate court has broad equitable powers under both Probate Code sections and general equitable principles to award fees incurred in trust challenges, with fee entitlement being beyond reproach. (Hollaway v. Edwards, 68 Cal.App.4th 94, 99-100 (1998); Rudnick v. Rudnick, 179 Cal.App.4th 1328, 1335 (2009).) Fee award sustained.