Is it Possible to Contest a Trust? We’ve all heard of Will contests; long, drawn out battles over whether grandma was in her right mind when she cut Uncle George out of his share of the family fortune. But what if Grandma had established a trust instead? The truth is that it’s possible to contest a trust, although trust challenges are not nearly as common as suits to challenge a Will and one of the reasons may be the privacy factor. When you die with a Will, it has to go through Probate. This means that a court proceeding is instituted, and all interested parties are notified that you’ve died and that your will is being probated. They’re also given a deadline for filing their objections. But this is not the case if you have a trust. Trusts are private and there is no probate, so the only people that know about your trust are those that are close to you. Your Trustee simply follows your instructions in distributing property to the trust beneficiaries. If however, someone involved is unhappy enough to start a lawsuit, then they’ll have to show one of the following in order to win: Lack of Mental Capacity. This means that you did not have the intellectual faculties to understand what you were doing at the time you established your trust; therefore, the terms of your trust are not a reflection of your true intentions. Undue Influence. This means that someone in a position of influence pressured, forced, flattered, or in some other way convinced you into putting terms into your trust that were not a reflection of your true intentions. These are both extremely difficult things to prove; however, if you are establishing a trust and anticipate that one of your beneficiaries may file a lawsuit challenging the trust, you can include a no contest clause. This is a provision in the trust that provides if someone challenges the document, they’ll receive nothing under the trust. People often use no contest clauses when they leave unequal portions of their estate to their children or in situations where there’s a new spouse who gets the bulk of an estate, rather than a person’s adult children. If you think you need a No Contest Clause or are concerned about other aspects of your trust, then it’s important to seek advice from an estate planning attorney to make sure that your trust is properly drafted. Experienced estate planning attorneys Indianapolis IN of the Frank & Kraft Attorneys at Law offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Indianapolis IN. To learn more about these free resources, please visit http://www.frankkraft.com today.
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