Grounds for Trust Litigation

Illinois Estate Litigation| Chicago Trust LitigationMany of the reasons for which someone might file a will contest are the same reasons that some clients wish to engage in trust litigation. Trust litigation, or trust contests, involve legal challenges to the construction and mechanics of a trust or the behavior of the trustee. Some trust litigation also attempts to remove or alter an irrevocable trust, which although atypical, can be excused by a court under some extenuating circumstances.

Valid trusts, like proper wills, must also be constructed under testamentary capacity. Anecdotal claims trying to demonstrate that the grantor did not fulfill testamentary capacity can be difficult with medical or written records to corroborate these claims. For this reason, it is important to collect any relevant or helpful documentation that might support claims of failure to meet testamentary capacity.

Undue provision however is not typically proven through supported documents. Trust litigation cases will usually need to identify specific provisions in the will that seem to indicate a deviance in character from the grantor that can only be attributed to external influence or coercion. In this case, several anecdotal testimonies may be useful to validate claims of undue provisions that can ideally also be explained through motive and opportunity.

Our Chicago estate litigation attorneys provide legal counsel various trust litigation matters, ranging from ownership disputes to asset mismanagement claims.

Reasons for Trust Litigation

One common reason to file a trust contest is if a client believes that the legal mechanics of a trust do not accomplish their original intention. If a trust was improperly drafted with the wrong legal language then oftentimes the trust will not accomplish what the grantor hoped that it would; a trust contest on this ground would dispute the construction and reformation of the trust.

Trust litigation may also address the management of a trust. If a charitable trust is demonstrated to not actually provide philanthropic means or if a insurance trust provider fails to offer the agreed health care services, then suits may be taken against the trustee directly. This type of trust contest is quite similar to a fiduciary breach of contract or asset mismanagement in that a trust contest against the trustee similarly places the blame on the fiduciary for failing accomplish a prescribed objective.