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Pursuing a legal action as a result of a trustee or settlor’s alleged mental incompetence is an uphill battle. The courts hesitate to declare someone mentally incompetent unless it can be demonstrated through clear evidence that the individual cannot manage the affairs of the trust. This issue is currently playing itself out on a national stage as a result of the Donald Sterling case. Mr. Sterling owns the Los Angeles Clippers. His wife, Shelly, is attempting to have him removed as a co-trustee of their family trust, to block his attempts to revoke the trust, and to sell the trust’s ownership interest in the Clippers. She claims that her actions are justified because she alleges that her husband is mentally incompetent.

Evidence to Defend Against a Claim

In an effort to protect the interests of trustees and settlors, individuals accused of mental incompetence are given an opportunity to defend themselves. Donald Sterling will have the ability to present the evidence that supports his claim that he is fully capable of managing his own affairs as well as the affairs of the trust. Attorney Scott Grossman recently spoke on this topic in an interview with a radio station. He noted that Sterling and others accused of mental incompetence should have an opportunity to present the following in their defense:

  • Testimony from physicians of his choosing as to his mental competence.
  • Testimony from his employees as to his behavior in the workplace.
  • Testimony from people that he engages in business dealings with, such as buyers or sellers of real estate or corporate assets.
  • Evidence that he is able to manage his own finances effectively.

Whether you are accused of mental incompetence or suspect a trustee or settlor of the same, it is important to seek legal guidance. We encourage you to learn more by listening to Attorney Grossman’s full broadcast. Find a link on our Facebook page!

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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