Trust Litigation

While trusts can be very beneficial for the heirs of an individual, improper trust administration can lead to many problems. This is unfortunate, as a trust is supposed to work to maximize a person's assets for their benefit. If a trustee mismanages a trust, then the beneficiaries could lose out on their rightful inheritance. A trust could also be contested due to the incapacity of the person creating the trust. A beneficiary may bring a lawsuit in regards to a trust for the following areas:

  1. Breach of Trust: if the trustee did not fulfill their duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiary, then that individual may liable for the damages. It is the responsibility of a successor trustee to preserve the assets and never act in self-interest. If the trustee is negligent or blatantly uses the trust's assets for self-gain, then the beneficiaries can bring a case against them. A beneficiary could also sue the trustee if the trustee was showing favoritism to one or more of the heirs.
  2. Accountings: The successor trustee has an obligation to provide the beneficiaries of a trust with an account of his or her actions whenever they ask. Even if they don't ask, the trustee is supposed to give an annual account of any dealings related the trust. Failure to give this accounting can result in a lawsuit.
  3. Trust Contests: A rightful heir may contest a trust that was created by an individual that was mentally incognizant or with the help of a manipulative person. Often times, people take advantage of those who are elderly and not in their right mind. Heirs may contest the trust if they believe that the trust doesn't reflect the true wishes of the creator of the trust. Individuals may also contest the trustee successor if they feel that the current trustee is incompetent.
  4. Property Reclamation: Sometimes, a successor trustee might distribute property incorrectly, or even take it for themselves. A beneficiary who was not given his or her rightful dues may try to reclaim this property through a lawsuit.

Whether you are an individual or organization experiencing one of these issues or another issue involving a trust, you should consider getting legal representation. The laws surrounding trusts are often convoluted and difficult to understand, so hiring a trust litigation lawyer to protect your rights may be a wise decision.

Alternatives to Litigation

Before taking your case to court, you may want to consider mediation, which is often a less costly way to resolve disputes. Mediation also both parties to discuss the problems and come to a solution without involving the courts. An experienced mediator or estate planning lawyer could be consulted to facilitate the discussion. Arbitration is another option for those who are seeking justice.

Arbitration employs a third party who will listen to both sides and then make a legal binding decision for the case. An arbitrator, who is often a retired judge or lawyer, basically acts as the judge and jury of a case. This may allow the parties to resolve a dispute more quickly and with lower cost.