Hi, I’m Reed Bloodworth, founding partner of Bloodworth Law. Today I’m going to take a moment to explain, what is trust litigation?
Well, the first issue we should address is what is a trust?
- A trust is a legal creation whose purpose is to hold assets for beneficiaries
- A trust is controlled by a trustee
There are many types of trust. Some of the more common types of trust:
- Revocable trust
- Irrevocable trust
What is a Revocable Trust?
Revocable trust means that the grantor, the person who is putting the assets into the trust, controls the trust and controls those assets for his or her lifetime.
What is an Irrevocable Trust?
What is an irrevocable trust? In an irrevocable trust, the grantor puts items into the trust but relinquishes control of those assets and the trustee will manage those assets for however long the trust is designated to last.
Why Create Trusts?
Why create trusts? Trusts are very beneficial in terms of estate planning. Items that are in trusts avoid probate. Probate can be lengthy, it can be expensive and trusts are a way that lawyers avoid that process for certain assets.
What is Probate Litigation?
Let’s shift this conversation a little and talk about Probate Litigation. Probate litigation arises in a multitude of fashions.
Some of the more common types of probate litigation involve beneficiaries who believe they were improperly left out of a trust or perhaps a trust was amended and certain beneficiaries were left out, some were added, and their disputes arise.
Trust Litigation Situation
So, for example, let’s say a father has two children. He had a trust and the two children were the equal beneficiaries of the assets in that trust. However later in life, the father remarries.
The father is somewhat weak. Perhaps he’s sick, or perhaps he suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s. And the stepmother takes the father to an attorney. And she has the father create an amendment to the trust removing his biological children as beneficiaries, but adding her or adding herself and her children as beneficiaries.
Common Trust Litigation
This is a common trust litigation instance. In this situation, the biological children may bring an action against the trustee, to have it set aside for multiple reasons. It could be lack of capacity. It could be undue influence. It could be tortious interference with a testamentary expectancy.
Some other causes of action pertaining to the trust litigation in that context may include:
- Accounting: Beneficiaries, or would be beneficiaries, want to know where the assets went.
- Trustee’s Duty: The trustee’s duty is to supply accounting to the trustees or to the beneficiaries So in that scenario, my law firm and I would represent either the trustees in defending a lawsuit brought by beneficiaries, or we could represent the beneficiaries bringing the suit against the trustees.
This is just a common scenario for trust litigation. It involves obviously trusts. It involves parties related to the trust to people that have interests in the trust.
So at Bloodworth Law we represent beneficiaries and trustees. We represent them both as plaintiffs and defendants. Again my name’s Reed Bloodworth the founding partner of Bloodworth Law. Give me a call. Let’s talk about what happened to you.