Claims of undue influence can lead to trust litigation

| Sep 21, 2018 | trust litigation | 0 comments

When a person in California dies, their loved ones will grieve. However, this grief is only amplified if the person’s survivors disagree with the contents of the person’s trust. Sometimes, these disagreements are small enough that the parties involved can resolve them on their own. But, these disagreements are so big that they lead to trust litigation. This may be especially true if one party believes the deceased was unduly influenced when he or she executed or modified the trust.

For example, as a person ages, they start to lose their physical and mental abilities. When such persons are vulnerable, a loved one might try to influence their estate planning. Though, to constitute undue influence, the person’s actions must go beyond mere nagging. The person’s behavior needs to be so extreme that it leads their aging loved one to give in and modify their estate plan in a way that either favors that person or disfavors other beneficiaries.

Allegations of undue influence can lead to trust litigation after a person dies. Yet, it may be possible to avoid such conflicts. For example, by communicating with beneficiaries regularly about the estate plan, it may be possible for all of them to understand, even if they do not like the plans. This can also alert a beneficiary to the possibility that they were unduly influenced before death.

So, whether a trust beneficiary believes he or she was not allocated the inheritance he or she was told he or she would receive, whether a beneficiary who took care of the deceased is granted a greater share of the estate, which the other beneficiaries believe is not fair, or whether a beneficiary was disinherited, trust litigation can be a difficult process for all involved. Therefore, it is important that beneficiaries understand what their loved one’s plans for his or her estate are before he or she dies. They can determine whether their loved one was unduly influenced in creating or modifying the trust.