Contesting a Trust

While lots of people have actually become aware of objecting to a will, a trust might likewise be objected to in specific circumstances. If a trust is effectively contested, the trust can be modified or even removed in some scenarios.

Legal Background

A trust is a legal file and plan in which a person names another person to hold property on behalf of a third individual. The individual making the trust is called a grantor or settlor. The person whose job it is to safeguard the trust assets is the trustee, and the person benefiting from the plan is the beneficiary. The grantor develops the terms for handling the trust property and income, and the trustee’s function is to satisfy these guidelines. The trustee is considered a fiduciary, owing the beneficiaries specific legal responsibilities.


Before a trust can be modified or terminated, the individual desiring this modification needs to have correct standing. In cases of trusts, the individual need to be a beneficiary to object to the trust. There are different criteria for people who wish to contest a will. There may also be a particular statute of constraints under state law or the Uniform Probate Code that restricts a trust contest to within a specific period of time, such as 3 years after the settlor’s death.


Some trusts consist of a provision that states that if a beneficiary contests the trust, that he or she will surrender any portion that she or he was entitled to if such a contest is made. Some states have actually enacted laws that invalidate such arrangements when there is cause to bring forth an action of this nature.

Reasons That a Trust May Be Contested

Revocable trusts can be customized by the grantor at any time. As soon as the grantor passes away, the trust is then considered irrevocable. There are a range of reasons a trust might no longer be preferred by the beneficiaries, consisting of:

Customized or Ended

Trust beneficiaries might declare that the settlor was unduly affected by someone to produce the trust in a certain manner. Duress or fraud might also be alleged. Excessive impact alleges that an individual who stands to take advantage of the trust pressured the settlor into signing the trust. This might take place because the person benefiting threatened the settlor, withheld needed resources or heavily manipulated the settlor so that he or she would be separated from other member of the family. Fraud can happen when a person indications the trust not knowing that the file was a trust. If such actions are discovered to be true, the court may terminate the whole trust.

Trust Does Not Show Settlor’s Wishes

In some circumstances, a settlor might have established a trust however the existing realities avoid the trust from serving its original function. This can take place when the recipients receive little or no take advantage of the trust. The trust might cost more to administer than the beneficiaries get. A trust may contain language to permit the termination of a trust in specific circumstances, or a beneficiary may petition the court to snuff out it.

Trust Does Not Serve Its Function

In other scenarios, the language consisted of in the trust might go through various analyses by the recipients and the trustee. The beneficiary may petition the probate court to customize or terminate to provide a declaratory judgment of what the settlor’s intent was. If the court identifies that the language is clear, the trust will remain in its current result. However, if the court finds that the language is ambiguous, it will attempt to ascertain the settlor’s intent by taking other details into account, such as the individual history in between the grantor and the recipients and other communications. The court will figure out how the trust should be dealt with by using the testator’s believed intent.

Trust Language Is Ambiguous

Individuals who wish to contest a trust have the problem of showing the probate court why the trust must be customized or ended. They might think about employing a lawyer experienced with probate litigation to handle this complex task. The probate lawyer can discuss the person’s rights and choices concerning producing a petition to object to the trust.

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