Estate Planning Law Firm
Litigation is generally an emotional process, especially when several family members are arguing and disputing their legacy. Navigating probate court can be a frustrating, tiring, and irritating process. When no estate plan is in place, the descendants and beneficiaries of a deceased individual will have to wait for the estate to go through the probate process before it can be distributed. Individuals who pass away having created a will still have to go through probate. However, options to work around the government-imposed estate plan exist, and it’s a good idea to be aware of them before it’s too late.
What is a Trust?
Trusts are very helpful in terms of estate planning. Items held in trusts aren’t subject to the probate process. Probate can be lengthy, and it can be expensive. Trusts are a way that lawyers avoid that process for certain assets. A trust is an arrangement that allows a third party, called the trustee, to hold the assets for a beneficiary or beneficiaries. It is a legal vehicle that significantly expands your options for managing your assets. This is true whether you’re trying to pass them on to your children or shield your wealth from taxes.
A trust can also provide the ability to control not only who gets your assets, but also how the money will be paid out. That can be a critical consideration if the beneficiary’s ability to properly handle money is in question.
Duties and Obligations of Trustees
Being a trustee is a significant responsibility with many duties and obligations. Some of these include:
- Not communicating with beneficiaries effectively
- Failing to perform routine activities or duties
- Stealing from the trust
- Mismanaging property or real estate held in the trust
- Failing to pay bills associated with trust
- Not providing standard accounting services
- Transferring assets to non-beneficiaries
- Selling or liquidating trust assets inappropriately
Trust litigation can happen due to misconduct or actual, real fraud on the part of the trustee. Or, it can happen because of misunderstandings and lack of sufficient or clear communication between the trustee and beneficiaries and other interested parties.
Why Hire a Trust Litigation Attorney?
A trust litigation attorney is probably necessary when:
- Issues with interpretation exist
- A trust is not set up properly
- A trustee does not fulfill their duties
- The trust’s validity is in question
- An amendment to the trust is in question
- Undue influence or elder abuse occurred
- There are disputed claims for or against the trust
- Disputes exist between beneficiaries
- A trustee must be removed
- The grantor of the trust lacked capacity
- A trustee misappropriated funds (risky investment, theft, etc.)
- The accounting is contested
When a trustee fails in their responsibilities, litigation may be necessary. If a beneficiary believes the trustee is not assuming their duties adequately, they can pursue legal action to remove the trustee. A trust litigation attorney can defend your interests and reach a resolution that restores your peace of mind.
A lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in trust litigation can help you determine your options to resolve your matter best. Contact a lawyer for more information or to schedule a consultation.