We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Joplin for over 40 years.
Will & Trust Lawsuits
One of the main purposes of trusts is to avoid the courtroom since trusts can provide for the distribution of assets at death, avoiding the need for a will that would require probating through the courts.
Trusts, however, like any other contract or testamentary document, sometimes become the subject of disputes. Sometimes trustees, beneficiaries, or others with an interest in the trust’s assets will challenge a trust, the actions of a trustee, or the validity of the trust itself, and lawsuits will be filed.
Sometimes former beneficiaries, those who claim they should have been beneficiaries or that the trust should not have been (or was not) executed, will file a lawsuit challenging the validity of a Trust. These trust lawsuits may challenge the trust in a number of ways, including:
- Mistake in Execution: A written trust must be executed in the manner required by governing statutes. If the statutes are not followed, the trust may not be enforced.
- Undue Influence– If the person making the trust did not do so of their free will but was instead coerced by a person who was in a position of confidence or control, the trust may not be enforced.
- Lack of Capacity – A person executing a trust must have testamentary capacity, which generally means the person must have the mental ability to understand
- the amount and nature of his property;
- the family members and loved ones who would ordinarily receive such property; and
- how the trust disposes of such property.
A will & trust litigation in St Louis may be necessary even when the trust is properly executed and formed. Sometimes a trust lawsuit is necessary to challenge the actions of the trustee in implementing the language of the trust and not challenging the content of the Trust itself.
Lawsuits addressing the actions (or inactions) of the Trustee can include:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty – a trustee has duties and responsibilities owed to beneficiaries of the trust. The trustee’s failure to properly administer a trust can result in a lawsuit.
- Removal of Fiduciary – a fiduciary may be removed by the court for cause.
- Discovery of assets/Accounting – Beneficiaries have a right to know what assets are held by the trustee and the disposition of any assets the trustee has sold or conveyed. Sometimes a lawsuit is necessary for this purpose, and the lawsuit is known as a discovery of assets or an accounting.
For matters related to estate litigation, trust formation, and estate planning, it is advised to consult with a trust litigation attorney. Probate attorneys can help you understand your situation, guide you through the breach of fiduciary duties by trustees, and guide you about the beneficiaries and personal representatives of an estate during will and trust disputes.