While some San Mateo, California, residents may have heard the old adage that trusts help a family “avoid probate,” the reality is that legal disputes involving the terms or creation of a trust can lead to full-blown trust litigation and, with that, one or several trips to the courthouse.
Without the proper management, these sorts of disputes can turn in to costly and stressful affairs that may be the very type of situation that the person who created the trust intended to prevent. As such, when a person either receives a lawsuit involving a trust to which they are connected, or if they sense something is amiss with the way a love one’s trust is being handled, they should consider learning more about their legal options.
Nevertheless, it may prove helpful to California residents to have an overview of what sort of issues can spur trust litigation. For example, as is the case with a will, a concerned person can contest a trust based on the theories of undue influence, fraud, coercion and the like. A person who creates a trust also must have the mental capability to do so, and so a person can challenge the validity of a trust if there is reason to believe its creator was not mentally competent.
Also, like wills, trust litigation can happen when a trust is not clearly or properly drafted or when circumstances change that make the trust impossible to enforce as it is written. What a trust means can have a huge impact on whether a person gets the inheritance he or she expected, so these sorts of issues are often hotly contested when they emerge. Finally, litigation often happens when a trustee gives the appearance of not doing his or her job managing the trust funds properly or engages in various forms of self-dealing with respect to the trust funds.
Just because a person chooses a trust over a will, doesn’t mean that their loved ones won’t contest the trust. The death of a loved one is a difficult time, especially if a person believes the deceased’s trust should not be enforced. Those who need more information about contesting a trust should seek the help they need to determine what steps to take next.