Trust Litigation Lawyers in Northville Settling Estate Dispute Issues
An individual known as the grantor may opt to establish a trust to help their family members avoid probate or estate taxes after they have passed away. In other instances, a trust may be created to provide income for a special needs individual or younger relatives after the grantor’s death.
However, in many instances, beneficiaries named in the trust feel that legal issues cause them to challenge the trust’s validity. When the terms of the trust are challenged, it often pits family members against each other.
Regardless of where you stand on a trust dispute, hiring an experienced trust litigation lawyer who can provide advice and protect your legal rights is in your best interest.
If you want to learn more about how we may be able to help you with your legal issue, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. of Northville, and ask to schedule a free initial consultation.
Who Can Contest a Trust in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, a trust can only be contested by a party with a vested interest in the trust. This party, known as the plaintiff or challenger, also has the burden of proof to demonstrate to the court that the trust should be considered invalid.
If the plaintiff is successful in their claim, the court will “throw out” the trust. However, anyone considering such legal action should be advised that if a court throws out a trust, it is just the same as if the decedent left no directives on how the trust assets should be distributed.
Individuals who may contest a trust include:
- Disadvantaged or disinherited beneficiaries: Individuals who were given a more significant portion or named in a previous trust.
- Disinherited or disadvantaged heirs at law: Family members who would have inherited or inherited more had the decedent failed to create a valid trust.
If you are an individual or family member who feels a trust contest is appropriate, you must hire an experienced estate litigation attorney to help you file a claim and represent your interests in court. You can be assured the defense will have strong legal representation. Therefore, you ensure your legal rights are protected.
What Are the Legal Grounds to Contest a Trust?
Even if the terms of a trust seem unfair to a beneficiary, this does not mean they have the right to contest a will. Michigan law stipulates that anyone claiming a trust is invalid must have legal grounds to do so.
Legal grounds that are accepted under state law include:
- The trust was not signed as designated by state law. Michigan law states that the grantor and two witnesses must sign the legal paperwork. Additionally, the document must be notarized.
- The grantor lacked the mental capacity to create a valid trust meaning they did not have the capability to understand the consequences of their decisions.
- Undue influence was used to entice the grantor into signing the trust documents. As individuals age, others may manipulate them and try to influence how they distribute their assets.
- The terms of the trust were brought about by fraud. For example, a plaintiff may allege the grantor was tricked into signing trust documents.
In some instances, a plaintiff may also request that a personal representative or trustee be removed from their role as the person who distributes assets if they feel they have mismanaged the trust.
Any claims of wrongdoing regarding a trust should always be taken seriously. However, anyone making such claims must have a skilled estate litigator to ensure proper legal procedures are followed.
If you have legal grounds to dispute the validity of a trust, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C., immediately and ask to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
What is the Statute of Limitations For Contesting a Trust?
Michigan has set rules for how long an individual has to challenge the validity of a trust. The challenger must initiate legal action with the appropriate probate court within a prescribed time; otherwise, they will be barred from pursuing the case.
Anyone who wishes to contest the validity of a trust must do so within the following time limits:
- Two years after the grantor’s death
- Six months after the trustee sent the challenger notice
However, anyone who wishes to challenge a trust must hire an experienced trust litigation attorney who can thoroughly review the terms of the trust beforehand before attempting to pursue legal action. Some trusts have legal provisions that specifically disinherit those challenging the terms set forth.
Why is Your Law Firm the Best Choice For My Trust Litigation Case?
Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C. has over 20 years of experience handling complex estate litigation cases. Our legal team recognizes that contesting a trust may be difficult because it most likely would pit you against other family members.
However, even though it may be emotionally difficult to contest a trust, there are often situations where it is in everyone’s best interest. For this reason, our law firm is passionately committed to finding viable solutions for clients and their families.
One aspect that sets our law firm apart from others is we always have a live person available to answer the phone, with most calls being returned either that day or the following day. We strive to get to know our clients and treat them like family. Many clients have remarked they appreciate that we carefully listen to their legal concerns before trying to advise them on how to proceed.
If you feel that you or others would benefit from contesting a trust, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C., of Northville by calling 888-663-7407 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a qualified legal team member who can evaluate your case.