Like contesting a will, disputing a trust is an emotionally charged and complex issue. While trust disputes are not as common as will contests, they do occur and are often based upon the same type of issues.
1. The legality and validity of the trust itself.
With the plethora of online tools to create a trust, there can be legal issues that occur with improperly prepared documents as well as documents that may not reflect the true intentions of the person creating the trust.
2. Removal of Trustees.
A Trustee should act not only within the terms of the trust, but for the benefit of the beneficiaries named. They have a fiduciary duty, and if this is breached, or perceived to be breached, interested parties may seek their removal through a trust dispute. Many trust attorneys will prepare trust documents with a mechanism for the removal or replacement of Trustees.
3. Interpretations of the provisions of the trust.
Trust documents should be clear and concise, but when they are not, such as, again, the use of online trust kits, trust litigation may result.
4. Capacity and undue influence.
Like contesting a will, capacity and undue influence can come into play with trust disputes, arising from the mental status of the trust’s grantor, the person who had the trust created. Capacity refers to the ability of the grantor to understand that they created a trust, the relationship to the trust’s beneficiaries, as well as the value of the trust property. Undue influence pertains to a situation in which the beneficiary under the trust stands in a confidential relationship with the grantor, and had too much influence over the creation and terms of the trust.
A trust attorney can defend against trust litigation, assist you in disputing a trust or help you create a trust that will stand up to legal challenges, as well as meet the estate planning needs of you and your family.
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