Trusts are often used by individuals who want to avoid probate. Trusts can provide for distribution of assets upon death and in doing prevent a Will from going through probate. However, there are circumstances in which beneficiaries or other interested individuals can challenge the trust, which requires trust litigation.
Types of Trust Contests
The grounds for contesting a trust are substantially similar to the grounds upon which a Will may be contested, such as:
Mistake in Execution
Florida law requires that trusts be executed in conformity with certain requisites. If those requisites are not met, the trust may not be recognized under Florida law.
Florida law requires that in creating a trust, the person making the trust must do so freely and not under coercion. If a trust is created under undue influence, the trust may not be recognized under Florida law.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
Florida law requires that a person making a trust have the mental capacity to do so, and in the absence of requisite mental capacity, the trust may not be recognized under Florida law.
Additional Trust Litigation Claims
Trust litigation may also involve the following claims:
At times, trusts are drafted in vague, confusing or contradictory ways, requiring a court’s interpretation to determine the proper manner in which the trust is to be administered.
Challenges to the Trustee
Trust litigation often involves challenging a trustees actions. Trusts nominate individuals or entities to serve as trustees. The trustee carries fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Failure to properly administer a trust, either by overt act or by omission, can constitute an actionable breach of fiduciary duty. Under such circumstances, suit can be filed to remove the fiduciary, and if assets were mismanaged or wasted, or excessive fees were taken, a claim can be made against the fiduciary to recover financial losses.
Florida Probate Litigation Attorneys
If you believe your loved one’s trust has been mishandled, trust litigation may be necessary. Before moving forward with trust litigation, it is essential to consult a skilled Florida probate and trust litigation lawyer. Much is at stake in trust litigation; you risk financial losses as well as the loss of important family relationships.
We understand how difficult it is for clients to initiate trust litigation, especially litigation against family members and close friends. The experienced Florida probate and trust litigation attorneys at Kelley/Uustal can help you resolve your probate dispute effectively. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.