When it comes to distribution of money and property after a person passes away, all of the interested and involved parties don’t always play fair. In fact, when there is a trust set up, the actions of a close family member or friend can influence the provisions in the trust – fairly or unfairly.
A trust is created when a person (grantor) is alive to dispose of that person’s assets as well as name beneficiaries for those assets after the grantor passes away. In a revocable trust, the grantor has control of the assets and can act as the trustee or they can name another person to act as the trustee in the event they are unable to serve as trustee. In an irrevocable trust, the grantor gives control of their assets to a trustee (a specific person named for this responsibility). An irrevocable trust cannot be changed or altered. On the surface, this all sounds very cut and dry: the grantor’s wishes are set in a document so how could there be any squabbles?
Unfortunately, money has a way of bringing out the worst in people. If a beneficiary were to be disinherited or removed from a revocable trust – or if the inheritance were to be reduced for a beneficiary – that person may file trust litigation to fight for what they feel is rightfully theirs. In an irrevocable trust situation, if the trustee is not fulfilling their fiduciary duties, the beneficiaries could take legal action.
Example of Trust Litigation
A couple has three children. The couple has a revocable trust drawn up, naming all three children as beneficiaries and the oldest child as the trustee. After the father dies, the trustee takes advantage of his ailing mother’s ill health to have the revocable trust changed to leave out the youngest child as a beneficiary. This is done out of malice because the two siblings do not get along.
The youngest child could have grounds to take legal action using the justification that the child who was serving as trustee unduly influenced their mother into changing the revocable trust. Trust litigation can be a time-consuming and confusing process. It could be beneficial to hire a Colorado trust attorney to help you streamline the process.
Other Reasons for Trust Litigation
Beneficiaries of a trust could take legal action for other reasons as well such as:
- Incompetence or dishonesty of the trustee
- Poor accounting practices
- Mismanagement of the trust
- Questionable mental capacity of the grantor
- Questions regarding validity of the trust
In some cases, the trustee can be removed from their duties if the courts find that they are not acting in the best interest of the grantor.
If you are facing situation that you think could warrant legal action regarding a trust, contact the Denver trust litigation lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC. We can assess your situation and make recommendations for next steps. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.