When it comes to trusts, there are two primary ways to challenge them: through a lawsuit or by contesting the trust. Although they may seem interchangeable, there are some key differences between the two approaches.
Suing a trust
This option is typically used when there are issues with the trustee or the terms of the trust itself. For example, if the trustee isn’t following the terms of the trust, you may be able to sue them. This option can also be used if you believe that the trustee has committed fraud or breached their fiduciary duties. You may also be able to sue the trust if you’re owed money by the trust.
Contesting a trust
In trust litigation, this option comes in handy when you believe that the trust itself is invalid. For example, if you believe that the trust was created using fraudulent information, you may be able to contest it. You can also use this option if you believe that the terms of the trust are illegal or otherwise invalid.
How do you sue or contest a trust?
The first step that you may take is to file a petition with the court. This petition may outline your allegations and request that the court take action. Once the petition gets filed, the trustee will get served with a copy of it and may have an opportunity to respond. When they respond, the court will set a hearing date to allow both sides to present their evidence. After the hearing, the court may make a decision on whether or not to invalidate the trust.
If the court invalidates the trust, the trustee is legally required to comply with the court’s decision. If they don’t, they may be held in contempt of court. This can result in fines or even jail time.