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What Are the Most Common Trust Lawsuits?

Reed Bloodworth is the founding partner of Bloodworth Law. Reed talks about a couple of scenarios in which a person may consider bringing a lawsuit pertaining to a trust or trust litigation.

What Are The Most Common Trust Lawsuits?

So, what are the most common trust lawsuits?

What’s a trust? A trust is a legal creation whose purpose is to hold assets and then distribute those assets upon that person’s passing.

There are many types of trusts and there are many types of trust litigation. The types of litigation I see most commonly involve a couple of different things.

Blood Relatives Are Written Out Of A Trust

Probably the most common trust lawsuits involve beneficiaries, usually blood relatives of the person who’s passed away, who at some point in time were beneficiaries of a trust. Then, near the end of that person’s life–the decedent’s life–the blood relatives are written out of the trust.

A lot of times this occurs under suspicious circumstances. The person may have lacked capacity. They may have been very sick. Someone may have isolated them and been encouraging them to change their trust. Usually, when those things occur, it’s because the person encouraging them wants to become a beneficiary.

Second Wives or Husbands

A very common trust lawsuit involves second wives or second husbands to the decedent. The decedent has a second wife or second husband and created a trust originally leaving assets to their biological children.

After the information is discovered, the stepparent takes some type of action to have the biological children removed from the trust and the stepparent becomes the primary beneficiary of the trust. Or, the stepparent and the stepparent’s children become the primary beneficiaries of the trust, leaving biological children out of the trust.

That is oftentimes a circumstance in which someone will consider trust litigation to challenge that trust.

Wrongful Acts by a Trustee

Another type of very common trust litigation involves alleged wrongful acts pertaining to the trustee.

Trustees have certain duties under Florida law, and trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries.  This means they’re supposed to run the trust in accordance with the trust terms and for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Sometimes claims are filed against trustees and personal representatives as well. Bloodworth Law represents trustees and personal representatives falsely accused of actions by beneficiaries.

Annual Accounting

As part of the fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, trustees are required to give what’s called an annual accounting. It is a document that is required according to Florida statutes. And it tells all the beneficiaries, “this is what’s in the trust, this is what’s happened to all the various assets over the course of the last year.”

And if this accounting is not completed, that is considered a breach of fiduciary duty.

During these accountings, or sometimes lack of providing these accountings, beneficiaries may discover some strange costs or some highly elevated expenses.

These are circumstances in which someone may consider challenging an accounting, or if it raises issues to a particularly bad level beneficiaries are perhaps trying to remove the trustee.

A circumstance where you may consider removing a trustee could involve:

  • Excessive trustees fees or self-dealing. This is where the trustee is using trust money to fund his or her own company or something along those lines. These are some common circumstances I see routinely in which people engage in trust litigation.
  • There are many other actions where a trustee’s actions cause beneficiaries

Plaintiffs and Defendants Represented

Bloodworth Law represents plaintiffs — beneficiaries –in these circumstances and the defendants — trustees. If you have questions pertaining to trust litigation give Reed a call to talk about what happened to you.

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