Many individuals place their assets into a living trust to make transferring assets to their loved ones easier once they pass away. It’s generally impossible for beneficiaries to contest a will before a testator’s death. That same logic doesn’t apply to trusts, though. Prospective rust beneficiaries can generally contest a trust long before a trustor’s death.
You may find it helpful to learn some of the more common reasons why individuals contest trusts. Having this knowledge may aid you in crafting an estate plan that hopefully minimizes any problems.
What are the claims people make when they contest a trust?
Usually, a trust is contested over one of the following reasons:
- Undue influence concerns: Beneficiaries often contest trusts when they’re concerned that someone subjected either the trust’s grantor to some form of overt or covert influence (to their own benefit, naturally).
- Unaccounted for beneficiaries: A trust may need to be amended if it appears not to account for newly married or born beneficiaries. A judge may allow for the addition of these individuals as beneficiaries to the trust if it appears that the grantor simply neglected to include them.
- Incapacitation of the trustor: Sometimes a beneficiary may believe that the trust’s grantor was mentally incapacitated at the time the trust was established due to dementia or another disorder.
All of these issues can be problematic, and litigation can arise.
How to handle contested trust matters
A judge may decide to invalidate the trust if an interested party presents enough supporting evidence to justify such an action.
It can be both an honor and a curse serving as a trustee. You might find it flattering that a trustor finds you trustworthy and responsible enough to manage their valuable assets. At the same time, you may find it overwhelming when someone contests a trust’s existence. An attorney can provide reliable guidance in dealing with such situations.