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Contesting a trust

Trusts are some of the most common legal and financial tools that people use to pass assets and wealth down to their children and grandchildren, among other beneficiaries. A living trust is established when the person is still alive, and it is also known as a revocable trust. A living trust can be contested just like a will, but it is not an easy process.

The contest process

To contest a trust, the contestor has to file a suit against each and every beneficiary of the trust. Additionally, during the process, the trust is still in operation, disbursing assets, so a contest does not stop it from functioning. The reasons for contesting a trust are similar to the ones motivating a will: There was some problem, error or obstacle that meant someone was left out when they should have been included.

Those reasons might include fraud, a mistake, a trust signed under duress, major changes like a new marriage that altered the situation, etc. Court outcomes in trust litigation can vary a lot, and there is a range of ways that a trust can be undone in whole or in part. Those outcomes can also spawn their own lawsuits from the people affected, so it is a complex and unpredictable process.

Contesting a trust might be the best path for someone who thinks the named beneficiaries are not the correct people for whatever reason. However, it is not easy and takes time to contest a trust, especially compared to contesting a will. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly for that reason as well as its uncertain results.