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Florida courts may rule on the state of trusts

Trusts are an excellent way of keeping our families and other interests safe when we are no longer able to manage our affairs. Florida lawyers and courts often rule on the best ways to create and preserve assets for offspring and benevolent causes.

Some trusts include clauses on how they may change form if circumstance dictates the need. These can also be interpreted differently, and courts occasionally need to rule on these interpretations.

A co-trustee of a revocable trust is appealing a decision by a Sarasota County court which terminated the trust. The court did not hear the plaintiff's objections before granting a summary judgment to revoke the trust upon the creator's death.

The defendant, a co-trustee and the son of the trust's creator, moved to end the trust and receive a sizable chunk of the assets' value. The plaintiff did not agree to the trust's early termination at the time. When the defendant challenged for termination, the plaintiff stated it would be against the creator's wishes.

Courts in Florida can rule for the termination or alteration of an irrevocable trust. This is usually done to preserve the wishes of a creator who has passed away or is otherwise unable to direct the trust. Circumstances at the time of the ruling, as well as the best interests of the beneficiaries, are also taken into account.

Trustees and beneficiaries may sue the responsible parties if they believe their needs or interests are not being served by its administration or termination. An attorney can help interpret trust documents and fight for your best interests during trust litigation.

Source: Florida Court of Appeals - Second District, "Horgan v. Cosden," accessed June 06, 2018

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