In today’s time, when the pandemic has forced the masses to stay at home, many people wish to get their legal issues sorted out without stepping outside as well.
While no one wishes to file lawsuits or contest contracts, such things can arise. For instance, while 20 percent of Americans have living trusts, there might come a time when individuals feel the need to contest their trusts. How Positive Stress Affects Our Life?
What is a living trust?
A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, refers to a document that enables a given person to place their assets into a trust during their lifetime. Upon death, the assets of the said person are then distributed to the designated beneficiaries.
Why contest a trust?
There are multiple reasons why many people decide to contest a trust. This includes the following:
The mental state of the grantor
In case you are doubtful about the mental state of the trust grantor at the time of the creation of the living trust, you can contest the document. When the trust is contested, for this reason lawyers usually look into the medical records of the grantor as well as testimonies from experts to deem the grantor mentally unstable.
Undue Influence over the grantor
Some people may also feel that the grantor did not create the trust at his or her will. Instead, they were subjected to biases, influence, and pressure by others. In case of such incidents, it is highly likely that the interest of the trust would be titled towards certain influential beneficiaries.
Here, other beneficiaries can file a lawsuit and argue that the grantor either created or altered the trust to reflect the wishes of others.
While some people don’t draft a single will during their lifetime, others tend to have multiple trusts and will. This occurs because people tend to move to a different state at some point in their life and update their estate plans by creating a new document.
In such cases, people may contest a trust if they find an updated will or document that supersedes it. Here, the court always considers the latest legal document.
Who can contest a trust?
Not everyone can file a lawsuit against a given trust. Instead, only those who have a proven legal standing can contest a living trust.
What does legal standing mean? Well, it means that the party contesting the trust must be personally affected by the outcome of the case.
This can include:
- Disadvantaged or Disinherited heirs: Members of the family who, under ideal circumstances, should have inherited assets or those who would have inherited more than currently given.
- Disadvantaged and disinherited beneficiaries: Charities, friends, or family members who received a larger bequest in previous wills, but were left us or given lesser than the ideal amount in the current trust.
What is the process of contesting the trust?
You can easily contest a trust from home.
To do so, you must hire a trust attorney to handle the matter for you. It is often advised to select attorneys from the same state or city. This ensures that your lawyer is well-versed in all the state laws of your country, which at times, may differ from one state to another.
For instance, a Dallas trust attorney is likely to be more comfortable and knowledgeable about the prevailing laws of Texas. The same will be true for a New York City lawyer for a case within the state.
To contest a trust, one must begin by preparing the required documents. This involves signing a petition to content your trust. The exact documents will depend on which state you are filing the lawsuit in.
Once you get the paperwork done, you must file a lawsuit. This is done in the probate court of the given state. Remember, this is not necessarily the state where the trust was initially executed. Instead, it is the state that has jurisdiction over the case.
What’s the outcome?
If the probate court becomes convinced that the terms of the trust are invalid, then there are two ways the assets can be distributed.
Firstly, in case a prior will exists, all assets are distributed according to it. However, there are times that people don’t draft their wills.
If such is the case, then the prevalent intestate succession laws will become operational. Such laws are present to offer a general framework on how to go about distributing an estate when there isn’t a will available.
While no one wishes to go through the hassle of filing lawsuits or contesting different contracts, it is always a good idea to be prepared for such incidents.
Know the process of contesting a trust. Make sure to hire the best trust lawyer in your state to represent you. If you do so, the chances are you will be able to get most of the procedure done via your home.