Hi, I’m Reed Bloodworth the founding partner of Bloodworth Law. Today I’m going to talk about a couple scenarios in which a person may consider bringing a lawsuit pertaining to a trust or trust litigation. So what are the most common trust lawsuits?
So first quickly 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.
What are the Most Common Trust Lawsuits?
What are the most common trust lawsuits? 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 Wife or Second Husband
A very common one is when an elderly person has a second wife or second husband and the decedent who created the trust originally had biological children.
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 beneficiary of the trust.
That is oftentimes a circumstance in which someone will consider trust litigation and to challenge that trust.
Wrongful Acts by a Trustee
Another type of very common trust litigation involves wrongful acts pertaining to the trustee.
Trustees have certain duties under Florida law. Under Florida law, trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. Meaning they’re supposed to run the trust in accordance with the trust terms and for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
As part of that, trustees are required to give what’s called an annual accounting. It is a document and it’s required by Florida statutes and what 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 is not done, 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 which would be considered trust litigation or if it raises rises to a particularly bad level 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.
At Bloodworth Law, we represent both plaintiffs in these circumstances and the defendants in these circumstances meaning we may represent the beneficiaries or may represent the trustees.
Multiple Fee Options
Bloodworth Law offers multiple fee options. We have an hourly fee option where you just pay by the hour for the attorney’s time.
We offer contingency fee options for plaintiffs meaning you know no attorney’s fees are due unless and until there is collection.
And hybrid options meaning there’s some combination of an hourly fee and a contingency fee bind together.
So again, if you have any questions pertaining to trust litigation give me a call. Let’s talk about what happened to you.