How Long Will Contesting A Trust Hold Up Proceedings?

Trusts can be a valuable estate planning tool, but sometimes a trust is contested. For example, this could happen if a decedent unexpectedly leaves their estate to a new spouse or partner instead of the children. In this article, learn more about contesting a trust and contested estates, and talk to our Lincolnshire estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson for additional information.

Who Is Allowed To Contest A Trust?

In Illinois, either beneficiaries or heirs can contest a trust. Beneficiaries are people who were named in the will or trust, and heirs are spouses and other relatives who would possess a right to inherit if someone passes away without an estate plan or will. You can be both a beneficiary and heir if you would have been able to inherit if there had not been an estate plan, and you are also named as a beneficiary.

Illinois law requires the person who wants to contest the trust to have legal standing. This means they must have an interest in how the case is decided in court. In most cases, beneficiaries and heirs are the only ones standing in a trust contest.

What Are Grounds To Contest An Illinois Trust?

You cannot contest the trust because you did not like the document or think you did not get what you deserve. You must have legitimate grounds to claim that the document should be invalidated. Some reasons a trust could be declared invalid are:

  • The person was of unsound mind when the trust was signed.
  • The person was unduly influenced when the document was signed.
  • The person created the trust because of fraud.
  • The trust was revoked according to Illinois law.
  • The person did not adhere to the correct legal requirements regarding executing the trust.

How Long Do You Have To Contest A Trust?

As of 2020 in Illinois, you can contest a trust six months after the date the trustee sends the trust notice to the beneficiaries or two years after the person’s death, whichever is earlier. How long it takes to contest a trust in Illinois depends on how busy the court is and how complex the case is. Extensive discovery and motions can drag out the process. Using a mediator to speed up a trust contest is often recommended. This way is often faster and less expensive than litigation.

Do You Want To Avoid Trust Contests?

When doing estate planning, the idea is to ensure your final wishes are followed. You can avoid costly trust contests by:

  • Doing your estate planning with an estate planning attorney who represents your best interests.
  • Informing your family members beforehand what your trust and estate plans are.
  • Use a discretionary trust for a beneficiary who might squander money they are left.
  • Regularly update your estate plan to reflect life and circumstance changes.

Speak To Our Lincolnshire Estate Planning Attorneys

Even with the best estate planning, it is possible a trust or will can be contested. Assembling a comprehensive and effective estate plan reduces the chances of this happening. Please speak to our Lincolnshire estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson at (847) 325-5559 today for more information.

Updated as of July 2019
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