Because they sometimes have tax and financial advantages, trusts are increasingly the instruments of choice for getting your assets distributed after death. However, like any other estate planning instrument, trusts can be abused. Trust contests have become as common as trusts are. If you believe you have reason to dispute a trust, you should retain an Ocala estate litigation attorney to advocate forcefully on your behalf in negotiations and in the courtroom. Attorneys Michael E. Dean and Timothy S. Dean of Dean Law Firm understand a wide range of family dynamics involved in trust contests and help people throughout Florida with these technical but emotionally charged matters.How To Bring a Trust Contest in Florida
There are a variety of potential defects on which a trust contest can be based. Some of the most common reasons to bring a trust contest have to do with who the beneficiary of a trust is. To be considered competent to make a trust, you need to understand the extent of your assets and the natural objects of your bounty. It is possible to contest a trust on the grounds that a settlor (the person who created the trust) lacked the mental capacity to understand the amount and nature of his or her property, understand the family members and loved ones who would usually receive that property, or understand how a trust typically handles that property. Lack of capacity can be the result of natural aging or being on substantial medication for a health condition. This type of trust contest will rely on medical records and any evidence of irrational behavior by the grantor.
Trusts can also be challenged on the basis of undue influence by a beneficiary. This type of challenge questions whether the grantor made the trust freely and without coercion by somebody in a position of confidence or control, such as a nurse or hospice worker.
Or perhaps there are technical defects in the preparation of the trust that renders it entirely or partially invalid. For example, a written trust must conform to Florida Statute §737.111. If this statute is not followed, the trust may not be recognized under Florida law.
Trust contests are not necessarily challenges to beneficiaries. Rather, they can be disputes about the management of the trust and compensating the trustee. We will look closely at the specific details of your case and form a strategy designed to accomplish your objectives in a timely fashion.Estate Litigation Attorneys Serving The Villages
Many of Florida's elderly residents need help creating a trust. Unfortunately, there are many people in Florida that take advantage of this need and insert themselves into an elderly person's life, in order to become a trustee or beneficiary of their trust. If this has happened to you or a loved one, our law firm provides a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. We represent clients who need help with trust contests in Marion, Ocala, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties. For a free consultation, contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form.