How are trusts disputed in court?

Trusts are a great way to avoid a lot of trouble with bequests while giving the highest possible value to children, relatives and charitable organizations. Smart people often use the estate planning process to move past simple wills and put assets and properties in trust.

Still, you need to remember that trusts are complicated financial instruments, and they can lead to conflict when they are not properly set up.

What kinds of conflicts arise because of trusts?

Trusts may be contested in probate court by relatives or other parties if they believe they have a claim to money or real estate that was transferred to the trust. This may be the case if an earlier will or trust included them among the beneficiaries. The dispute would begin with a lawsuit against a listed beneficiary in the trust to claim the value left to that party or as a challenge against the entire trust.

Is it easy to challenge a living trust?

It is generally harder in Florida to challenge a trust than to invalidate a will due to suspected duress or mental incapacity. To challenge a trust, someone must show that is was invalid since its inception. Also, assets covered in contested wills are generally frozen, but the assets in trusts can still be disbursed to the listed beneficiaries when lawsuits are pending.

How do judges rule in trust litigation?

The best rule for judges is to follow the intentions of the creator of the trusts. If other children are born or a family otherwise changed since the creation of a trust, a judge may try to figure out how the creator would have reacted to those changes. An attorney can generally help work out the detail of a specific case of trust litigation.


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