Can You Contest a Florida Trust?
While it’s relatively common to contest a will in Florida, a trust may also be contested in select scenarios. In the event you are successful in contesting the trust in question, it could result in the need to modify the trust or even terminate it in some cases. Just as you shouldn’t attempt to contest a Florida will on your own, you shouldn’t attempt to contest a trust alone either. Speaking with a knowledgeable West Palm Beach estate planning attorney is critical to determining whether or not your situation warrants contesting the trust.
The Need for Proper Standing
Before you can ask the court to modify or eliminate a trust, you must show that you have the right to do so. In other words, you need to show that you have the proper legal standing to contest it. Are you a beneficiary to this trust? If not, you may not have proper standing to bring legal action to contest it. There is also a statute of limitations that applies. If you miss the cutoff for bringing a trust contest, then your request could be barred.
Statute of Limitations
Florida Statute Section 736.0604 is what governs the time allowed to contest the validity of a revocable trust. The time may vary in some situations depending on whether or not the trustee sent proper notice of existence of the trust plus a copy of the trust instrument. You may only have six months to raise concerns regarding the validity of the trust.
If that is not confusing enough, there may be a different statute of limitations depending on the reason you’re challenging the trust. If you are contesting the validity of a trust, it’s different than bringing an action for breach of trust. If you want to sue the trustee, it’s a different timeline than bringing a legal action stating the trust was never valid in the first place. This is why it’s so important that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
Reasons for Contesting a Trust
The reasons for contesting a trust can vary. One reason you might bring an action is because there was a lack of accounting by the trustee. Or, maybe the trustee breached his or her fiduciary duty. This is when a trustee is not acting in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries.
Common causes of trust contests usually involve questions of the trust’s validity. Did the person who created the trust have mental capacity? If someone has dementia or was under the influence of drugs, there may be a valid challenge for lack of capacity. Undue influence is another common concern, which is when the person drafting the trust was threatened, coerced, or forced to write the trust the way they did.
Contact an Estate Planning and Trust Attorney
The first step in contesting a trust is contacting an attorney who has the experience and skills to represent you. At the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., we have years of experience representing clients for a wide variety of estate planning and probate matters, including challenging a will or trust. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation