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How Challenging is a Trust Contest vs. a Contested Will?

After sitting down with an attorney to figure out estate planning needs, many people wonder whether "fights" will take place after their death. As far as your wishes for assets after death, planning ahead is key. When it comes to objections, is it easier to contest a will or an irrevocable trust? Although you probably won't know what's happening from your grave, you might have heard of a trust contest by rich Hollywood socialites and "trust-fund babies." According to an article by thinkadvisor.com, litigation over family money is more common that people realize. People in blended families often engage in estate battles. A great way to reduce the chance of a trust contest and other estate disputes is to create an irrevocable trust that designates certain beneficiaries such as specific children. Also, make sure you can show medical or psychiatric evidence that you are in sound mind when creating the will or trust.

Understanding how it works

While people create a trust or a will to make sure their wishes are honored, it's also an important way to avoid probate. Trusts often eliminate estate taxes so your loved ones receive more money. When the Settlor (or person who created the trust) dies, a Successor Trustee administers any money or assets. No court supervision is needed as the Successor Trustee distributes the assets to family members. A will, in contrast, is settled in probate with court supervision. Logically, it's easier to contest or challenge a will in court. The individual files an objection in probate court, which is simple and straightforward.

Challenging a trust

While it's fairly easy for anyone to challenge a will, a trust contest is more challenging. A family member or friend can hire an attorney and go to court. An attorney files a petition in probate court for a trust contest. In some cases, there are valid reasons why a trust should be set aside. In some cases, loved ones feel the trust was created when their loved one was incompetent. In other cases, they claim fraud. People who want to challenge a trust need to do it within 120 days after getting a notice from the trustee.

Probate disputes often cause a lot of emotional turmoil in a family. When it comes to trust litigation and a trust or will contest, rely on an attorney who puts you first. At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we come up with tailor-made solutions or our clients struggling with debt relief needs as well as probate issues in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. For more information about estate planning and tips issues related to a trust contest, please contact us.

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