A common estate planning tool in Florida, a trust is a legal arrangement wherein a trustor or grantor (person making the trust) transfers the title of certain property to a trustee for the benefit of a designated third party (beneficiary).
While the trustee retains the nominal ownership of the assets held in the trust, the trustor/grantor can use the structure to avoid probate and pass those assets directly to the beneficiaries listed in the trust agreement.
However, is it possible to contest a trust if things do not end up as expected? Keep reading to find out.
How to Contest a Trust in Florida – Back to Basics
It is not uncanny to find people contesting last wills during probate in Florida. In this sense, it is also possible to contest a trust in different scenarios – as long as there are feasible legal grounds to justify the action.
Therefore, if the contestant wins in court, it may result in a judicial decision to modify the trust or even terminate the legal arrangement altogether. Still, no one should attempt to contest a trust without seeking proper legal counseling.
When contesting the trust, the plaintiff must demonstrate that he/she has the right to do so and show a proper legal standing when trying to modify or eliminate the existing legal arrangement.
Essentially, if the plaintiff is not a beneficiary of the trust, he/she may not have proper standing to contest it in court.
How to Contest a Trust in Florida – Why Would Someone Contest a Trust?
Several reasons could justify someone filing a lawsuit to contest a trust in Florida. Typically, the most common reason to bring an action is due to a lack of accounting by the trustee.
Under the law, the trustee has a fiduciary duty with the assets held in the trust and all beneficiaries of the arrangement. Hence, if the trustee breaches his/her fiduciary duty by not acting in the best interest of the assets or beneficiaries of the trust, it may incur legal action for breach of fiduciary duty.
Besides, common causes of trust contests involve issues regarding the trust’s validity, such as:
- A trustor’s lack of mental capacity
- Failure to meet signature requirements
- Failure to meet execution requirements
- Undue influence
For example, if the trustor has dementia or was under the influence of chemicals, there may be valid legal grounds for a lawsuit for lack of capacity. If the trustor was coerced, threatened, or forced to write the arrangement in a specific way, there might be grounds for a challenge for undue influence.
How to Contest a Trust in Florida – Statute of Limitations
Generally, the statute of limitations to contest a trust in Florida is six months. Still, the statute of limitations may vary depending on the reason alleged by the plaintiff to challenge the trust arrangement.
For example, a legal action to contest the validity of a trust is different from an action for breach of trust or challenging the performance of a trustee. Precisely, the only way to find out is consulting with an expert attorney for an individualized case assessment.
Contesting a Trust in Florida – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Undoubtedly, the best way to challenge a trust is by working with an experienced probate attorney in Florida. Waste no time – call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana L. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.