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Sacramento Probate Disputes: Jurisdiction Issues

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When probate lawyers for Sacramento initially converse with a prospective client one of the first subjects to address is which Court will have authority to decide a disputed trust case or will contest. All probate litigation attorneys should know that estate litigation is subject to jurisdictional limits. Jurisdiction is the power of a Court to hear and determine proceedings.

Jurisdictional limits - the power to hear and decide disputes - may relate to geography, citizenship of the parties, location of the parties, the Court's ability to apply relief, location of estate assets and subject matter of the controversy. Superior Court judges, whether sitting in Probate Court or Civil Court, first face their own issue of authority. Do they have the authority to decide the disputes filed in their Court and to issue the orders that are sought by the plaintiff, petitioner, defendant or respondent?

Sacramento probate attorneys, like the team at Hackard Law, must work to identify the law and the facts that support the filing of a trust and/or an estate actions in the Sacramento Superior Court - Civil or Probate division.

A California Superior Court has jurisdiction over a decedent's estate when (1) there has been an actual death; (2) the decedent, at the time of his or her death (a) was domiciled in California; or left property in California; and (3) proper notice is published. If the decedent was not domiciled in the state at the time of his or her death, the Court has no jurisdiction (power) to appoint a personal representative for the estate unless the decedent owned property in California.

A Sacramento trust attorney looks at the law and the facts supporting Court oversight of a trust in a little different way. The California Probate Code grants exclusive subject matter jurisdiction (power) over the internal affairs of a trust. The internal affairs of a trust include a large number of delineated factors and even those factors not delineated that can be characterized as an internal affair of a trust can also give the Superior Court jurisdiction over the Trust.

Sacramento County is directly in the middle of California's Central Valley. Its southernmost point reaches the San Francisco Bay. Its 2015 population is estimated to be nearly 1.5 million people. There is one Superior Court for Sacramento County.

The Cities that are a part of Sacramento County and are subject to Sacramento County Superior Court jurisdiction include Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. Sacramento County's major unincorporated areas include Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Rio Linda, Arden-Arcade, Florin, North Highlands, Orangevale, Rancho Murieta, Rosemont and Fruitridge Pocket.

Hackard Law's trust litigation attorneys regularly represent clients in the Sacramento Valley in probate, estate and trust disputes involving:


Inter Vivos Trusts

Living Trusts

Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

Inheritance Rights

Trust Contests

Revocation of Trusts

Trust Amendment Contests

Beneficiary Rights

Trustee Fraud

Compelling Trustees to Account

Removal of Trustees

Petitions to Surcharge Trustees

Obtaining Trust Information

Trust Modification by Consent of the Beneficiaries

Changed Circumstances Petitions to Modify trusts

Petition by Beneficiaries for Partial Distribution of Trust Estate

Distribution of Trust Estate

In Kind Distribution of Trust Estate

Successor Trustees

Marital Trusts

Trust Disclaimers

A B Trusts

Out of State Beneficiaries

Out of State Trustees

Corporate Trustees

Lack of Capacity

Will Contests



Executor Fraud


Codicil Contest

Rights of Surviving Spouses

Rights of Heirs

Petition by Heirs for Partial Distribution of Decedent's Estate


Identification of Heirs


Family Allowance

Bank Accounts

Life Insurance


Joint Tenancy Real Property

Joint Tenancy Bank Accounts

Paid on Death Accounts

Undue Influence

Elder Financial Abuse

Revocation of Deeds

Prohibited Transferees



Presumption of Fraud

Stepparent Disputes

Stepparent Inheritance

Stepparent Trustees

Revocation of Trust Amendments

Trustee Disputes

Trustee Wrongdoing

Sibling Disputes

Out-of-state children




Licensed Fiduciaries

Experienced trust and estate litigation lawyers at Hackard Law can help family members in estate, trusts, will and probate litigation in Sacramento, California. We can start with the first question regarding an estate dispute: Does the Sacramento County Superior Court have legal authority over the matters to which it is asked to decide?

We can help you with this and the other matters that are part and parcel of California Probate Court proceedings. If you are facing these and other estate and will issues, call us today at (916) 313-3030.

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