Appealing A Trial Court Decision Of A Trust And Estate Case? Learn The Standards For Review

After pursuing a trust and estate lawsuit over a dispute and losing at trial, you likely feel frustrated and defeated. Fortunately, however, you may have another opportunity to pursue your claim. Generally, the losing party in a trust or estate dispute has a right to appeal. The right to file an appeal, however, is subject to strict time limitations. Even if you pursue your appeal on time, it is important to understand the various standards of review that the court of appeal will apply to your case.

Standards for Review on Appeal of a Trust and Estate Case

What are the standards for review that a court of appeal will apply when evaluating a trust and estate case? The following is an overview:

  1. For issues on appeal that involve a question of law, the court will review the trial court’s decision de novo. The de novo standard of review means that the court of appeal is ignoring the trial court’s determination of a question of law. This gives you a reasonable chance of success when pursuing your appeal if the trial court made a mistake when applying a rule of law that is otherwise well-settled.
  2. For issues on appeal that involve a question of fact, the court will review the trial court’s decision under the substantial evidence standard. The substantial evidence standard means that the court of appeal will affirm the trial court’s decision if there was substantial evidence supporting it.
  3. For issues on appeal that involve a discretionary decision of the trial court, the court of appeal will resolve the question under the abuse of discretion standard. The abuse of discretion standard often makes it more difficult for you, as an appellant, to succeed. The court of appeal will not reverse the decision of the trial court unless it finds that the trial court’s decision exceeded the bounds of reason. As a result of exceeding the bounds of reason, the decision also had to have been prejudicial to you.

Understanding the standard of review and how best to pursue an appeal over a trust and estate matter requires the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. We have assisted many clients in protecting their legal rights in this area. We encourage you to learn more by checking out our client testimonials page today.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman

Attorney

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