In this article, we will answer “How to avoid trust litigation” by examining what trust litigation is and laying out some of the steps that will protect your trust from litigation.
Having a Trust is a significant element of estate planning that allows you to determine who receives what from your estate and when they will receive it. Generally, trusts allow more control and peace of mind than a will, so they are often a preferred means of estate planning. If there are any concerns or conflicts that arise around your trust, trust litigation may occur. This process can be time consuming, expensive and stressful for your family and loved ones, so we will break down some of the things you can do to avoid litigation for your trust. Feel free to reach out to us if you are looking for an estate planning attorney who can walk you through specifics.
For more on trusts, see our article “Should I Have a Trust or a Will?”
Trust litigation occurs when the court is needed to resolve any disputes over your trust. Some of the most common causes of these disputes are around questions of the legality of the trust. This can include but are not limited to questioning the sound mind of the trustor/deceased at the time of writing the trust, accusations of fund misuse by the trustee, or suspicion of manipulation or coercion upon the trustor/deceased. If these conflicts reach the level where the family cannot agree, parties may seek legal representation to dispute the trust, which will begin trust litigation.
The first step to avoid trust litigation is to make sure you are working directly with a trustworthy estate planning lawyer. Relaying your concerns to the attorney will give you some peace of mind that they are aware of your situation and will guide you through the process. There are some personal checks you can make to assure that your trust is as secure as possible.
These are just some of the steps you can take to ensure that your trust does not enter litigation. The legal process is complex and there are several unique circumstances that you may not have considered when originally planning your estate.