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