A trust hands over the legal title and management of an asset – or a set of assets – to a trustee. The trustee is then tasked with managing the property for the benefits of a third party, the beneficiary.
Typically, trustees take their obligations very seriously, and trusts are administered without any real concerns. That being said, this isn’t always the case. There are occasions when a trust may be contested, and these are just a few of the reasons why.
Instructions may be unclear
A trust is intended to carry out functions that reflect the true wishes of the grantor. The grantor provides instructions that must be followed to a tee. However, it isn’t easy to follow instructions if they are unclear. Additionally, if the instructions are unclear then it is difficult to say in what ways they are and are not the true wishes of the grantor. This is why the wording in trusts is so important. Without clear precise instructions that adhere to the law, the trust may be contested through litigation, even if the trustee is doing everything in their power to honor the deceased’s wishes.
For trusts to be legally binding, the grantor must have set them up voluntarily. Sadly, where significant sums of money and valuable property are involved, undue influence can play a part. Undue influence occurs when a vulnerable individual is forced into doing something against their will. In this context, this could mean being pressured into drafting a trust that benefits the party asserting the pressure. The presence of undue influence is one of the most common causes of trust contests.
If you are involved in any sort of trust dispute, it’s important to protect your rights. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start, no matter what the source of the conflict may be.