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Living Trust and Probate Matters Are Only Permitted a Bench Trial

bench trial
Bench Trial vs. Jury Trial


Bench Trial v. Jury Trial


In living trust and probate litigation only bench trials are permitted. A bench trial is conducted by a judge only, with no jury present, as in a trial by jury. In matters other than probate, for example, civil, criminal or family law, the parties have the option of choosing to have a trial by jury. If one party in a civil matter chooses to have a trial by jury and pays his jury fees to the court clerk, then there will be a jury trial. The matter is not up for negotiation or a ruling by the court. Anyone who so chooses can have a trial by jury. If for some reason a criminal defendant chose to forego a jury and have a bench trial she could, however that would be a bad decision and is either uncommon or never done.  

Also please note that the correct abbreviation of the word “versus” is “v.” and not “vs.”. The abbreviation “vs.” is only used for the Spy vs. Spy cartoon in Mad Magazine. The first living trust litigation attorney to email me about this joke gets a free contract paralegal $100 gift certificate. 


According to the website English Language & Usage:

In legal contexts, the abbreviation “v.” is used. Elsewhere, the most common is “vs.”. In formal contexts (e.g. scientific papers), it is probably best to have the period at the end of the abbreviation. I assume you would be using this abbreviation in graphs/charts/titles and things like that; the abbreviation would be appropriate in these places, but not within normal prose of the paper.


California Probate Code § 1452-1459.5 on Bench Trials

1452. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this division, there is no right to trial by jury in proceedings under this division. 1453. A motion for a new trial may be made only in cases in which, under the provisions of this division, a right to jury trial is expressly granted, whether or not the case was tried by a jury.


Bench Trials Are Less Formal Than Jury Trials


Bench trials take much less time and are more informal without the presence of a jury and the need for jury instructions. In a jury trial the jurors are the most important people in the courtroom. In a bench trial the court clerk and the court reporter are the most important people in the courtroom. Just kidding! In a bench trial the judge is probably the preferred personage pontificating in the probate proceedings.
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