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How to Contest a Trust

A trust is often established as part of an estate plan. After a loved one passes away, it may be surprising and upsetting to find that the trust was not as you expected. When this happens, it is best to seek guidance from a reputable trust attorney. There are situations in which someone may wish to contest a trust. Only an interested party may contest a trust. An interested party is limited to an individual or entity who has a potential legal claim such as an heir, beneficiary, trustee, or valid creditor. There are some important things to consider when you want to contest or challenge a trust.

On What Grounds Can You Contest a Trust?

There are several grounds that you can use to challenge a trust. The most common grounds include:

  • Lack of capacity
  • Fraud
  • Undue influence of another
  • Improper completion

In order to contest a trust or will you must have a legal basis. If the party was not of right mind at the time the trust was made, it could be found to be invalid. If someone used improper influence over the person making the trust, it might be possible to challenge it. When a trust is put in place it must follow the legal requirements or it may not be valid. If you want to contest a trust, contact an experienced trust attorney to review your claim.

How to Challenge a Trust

Time is limited to contest a trust. The probate process will guide the procedures and the court will set deadlines. As an interested party, you will receive legal notice of probate. In addition, the legal notice of probate must be published in the newspaper. It is essential to contest a trust as soon as possible. You will need to prove that you are a legal party to the trust as well as the grounds for the challenge. You should always submit an objection or petition in accordance with the dates set by the court.

When you contest a trust, the court will set a hearing date. At that time, you will be required to provide details to the court. The judge will review and evaluate the merits of your claim. Many people feel they have been slighted in a will or trust, but feeling that way is not enough to successfully contest a trust. You must provide legal proof to back up your challenge. You and your attorney will review the details of the situation and gather the documentation needed to substantiate your claim in court.

The probate process can be complex, so it is helpful to seek professional legal assistance. A skilled trust attorney will work on your behalf to file the necessary documents to contest the trust in a timely manner.  If you have improperly been left out of a will or trust or if you feel the distribution is unfair, you may have a valid basis to contest it. Contact our knowledgeable trust attorneys at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or by phone at (608) 784-8310 for a consultation.

Published August 6, 2021
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