What are the Chances of Successfully Contesting a Trust?

Often, in an effort to avoid the probate process and potential will contest, individuals establish trusts, where a third party, or trustee, is authorized to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. In most cases, the person creating the trust will remain in control of the assets in that trust until he or she becomes incapacitated or passes away.

Should this happen, then someone else will be named as the backup trustee and will step in and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the trustor’s wishes. While it is possible to contest a trust, doing so can be complicated, especially without the help of Alan G. Orlowsky, an experienced Chicagoland contested trusts attorney.

The Reasons for Contesting a Trust in Illinois

Illinois trust disputes generally fall into one of two categories. The first involves situations where beneficiaries disagree over the construction of trust and often involve allegations that a trustor didn’t have the legal capacity to create the trust in the first place. Or, there could be claims that a trustor was coerced or defrauded when creating the trust.

The second type of dispute involves concerns over how a trustee is administering the property assigned to a trust. A trustee could, for instance, be accused of misappropriating trust funds, failing to provide accurate accounting records, or improperly distributing the assets to beneficiaries. Whether these arguments are successful, however, depends on several different factors.

When Was the Trust Created?

Contesting a trust is similar to contesting a will and begins with filing a lawsuit with the probate court. Trusts are, however, generally more difficult to contest successfully due to the involvement of the trustor. Unlike wills, which are often created when death is imminent, trusts are typically created years before the trustor’s death.

Most individuals, for instance, who create living trusts, typically do so long before they pass away and actively manage that trust for many years before naming a backup trustee. The backup trustee is tasked with overseeing the trust administration process upon the original trustor’s death or incapacitation.

This means that a trustor could end up managing the assets in a trust for many years before the backup trustee takes over. This in turn makes it more difficult for someone to prove that the trust creator didn’t actually intend for the trust to be distributed as directed, or that the terms of the trusts are not a true reflection of the trustor’s wishes.

If, however, trust in Chicago was created immediately prior to a person’s death or after the onset of old age-related infirmities, a beneficiary or heir would have a much better chance of filing a successful contest, especially if there is any evidence of fraud, coercion, or mismanagement on the part of the new trustee. If the evidence is strong enough, the Chicago court could name a new trustee or even void parts, or all of the trust entirely.

Consult an Experienced Chicagoland Contested Trusts Attorney

The chances that a trust contest will be successful depends on several variables, including when the trust was created. For an evaluation of the likelihood of success in contesting a trust in your own case, please call the proficient and skilled Chicagoland contested trust lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law at 847-325-5559 today.

Updated as of July 2019
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