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This Case was a Contra Costa matter in the matter of the S Trust Agreement, David S, Petitioner, v. Riley S, Respondent.

This case involves the S Trust and disagreements among the four trust beneficiaries, the sons of decedents. The Petitioner, David S, was represented by several attorneys. Matt Toth of the Pedder Firm in Lafayette, California, represented the Respondents, the remaining three brothers, one of which was trustee. This case had a long history involving earlier civil actions brought by David, and further involving three mediation sessions.

The real issue as in most cases of this nature is that the Petitioner simply did not get along with his brothers and never had. “Daddy loved me best” syndrome.

David raised three primary allegations in his petition: First, he objected to the way that the trustee distributed the parents’ personal property. Second, he objected to the sale of the family residence complaining of a delay that resulted in a lower realized gain that should have been accomplished. Third, he complained that a number of the expenditures of trust funds by the trustee were not authorized by the terms of the trust.

After a 4-day trial which consisted of testimony and over 50 exhibits from petitioner and 30 from respondents, points and authorities and argument, the court ruled totally in favor of Toth’s client, the trustee of the trust. The respondent trustee prevailed on all counts. Lesson learned: “you are not your brother’s keeper if you are trustee for your Parents’ trust.”