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Should you take your loved one’s trust to court?

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Trust Litigation

If your loved one made the time and effort to establish a revocable living trust, it is likely that he or she had the goal in mind of protecting you and your inheritance. A living trust is different from a will and can be much more complex. It also has safeguards and characteristics a will does not, such as allowing many assets to bypass probate.

One element a trust has in common with a will is that it must be validly created following the laws of the state. If a trust does not comply with Nevada laws, you or others may have grounds to challenge it. Challenging a trust is not easy, and it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the process and gather the appropriate evidence to prove your reasons for bringing such a cause of action.

Problems with the trust or the trustee?

If the trust is a living, revocable trust, the trustee who established it, called the grantor, may have amended it while he or she was living. Once the grantor dies, the designated successor trustee takes over and distributes any assets funded to the trust according to the trust’s instructions. However, if the terms of the trust do not seem reasonable to you, it is possible the grantor lacked the mental capacity necessary for executing such a document. This is difficult to prove without medical records or strong witness accounts.

On the other hand, the trust may be the result of someone else placing undue influence on your loved one, leading him or her to alter the document for the other person’s benefit. Proving undue influence involves numerous steps, including:

  • Showing the court that your loved one was vulnerable to such influence.
  • Proving the other person’s motive for interfering with your loved one’s wishes for the trust.
  • Demonstrating that the other person had adequate opportunity to exact undue influence.
  • Convincing the court that the other person actually did adversely influence the grantor to alter the terms of the trust.

Even if the trust is legitimate and expresses your loved one’s wishes, you may have concerns about the manner in which the successor trustee is handling the management or distribution of the assets in the trust. For example, you might suspect that the trustee is poorly investing the assets, failing to act with transparency when dealing with the contents of the trust or outright stealing from the trust. A thorough investigation into such allegations will be critical so you can skillfully present your concerns to the proper court.