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Contentious Trusts

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Dealing with the aftermath of the passing of a loved one can be a very difficult time. There are practicalities that need to be handled as well as the grief and loss, which can be very stressful and upsetting. This can be made even more complicated if there are issues with the Will of the deceased, or their estate, which don't seem right to you and are in dispute.

Often, when there is a dispute over a trust, the issues can be between family members, which can be highly distressing for those involved. They may also be unsure about the probate process or how to go about challenging something that they don't believe is right or follows the wishes of the deceased. As highly experienced contentious trusts and probate solicitors, with a proven track record of successful outcomes when challenging Wills, probate and trusts, our team can help you to find a legal resolution to the issue.

Get in touch with our team today for more information if you're looking for expert contentious trusts solicitors. Call us on 0800 689 3607.

What is a contentious trust?

A trust is a legal way of dividing ownership of assets between beneficiaries in the event of someone's death. A trust means that a third party (a trustee or group of trustees) will be in control of the asset(s) on behalf of the beneficiaries. They are often used in estate planning because trusts can usually be managed outside of probate, which means that the beneficiaries can sometimes gain access to the asset(s) more quickly than if left through a standard Will. There can also be tax benefits of using trusts in some circumstances. Sometimes trusts are used to hold assets for children to safeguard their inheritance until they are of an age when they can manage it themselves.

A trust can be considered to be contentious if there is a dispute over the trust document itself, the behaviour of the trustee(s) or if there are concerns about the trust not reflecting the wishes of the deceased. Trust disputes can have serious consequences for both the trustee(s) and beneficiaries, but if a trust isn't being handled as it should, lasting harm can be done to the trust and assets if it goes unchallenged.

There are a number of different reasons why a dispute may arise over a trust and may be valid grounds for challenging it, which include:

  • If a trustee breaches the trust through negligence or fraud
  • If a trustee fails to report a breach of trust by a co-trustee
  • If a trustee is not carrying out their duties in relation to the trust
  • If the trust document itself is unclear, ambiguous or contains errors
  • If there is a belief that the settlor (the person who set the trust up) was unfairly influenced during the process or lacked the mental capacity to do so at the time
  • If there is a belief that the settlor was given negligence tax or legal advice when setting up the trust
  • If there is a belief that the trust isn't an accurate reflection of the wishes of the deceased
  • If the trust stops those who are financially dependent or creditors from claiming the assets to an estate
  • If the trust is believed to have been created to disguise the real ownership of the assets.

What to do if you think that a trust is contentious

If you are considering disputing a trust, it can be a very difficult thing to do. It could be that the individual or group involved are family members or known to you, which can complicate matters further. However, if you have real concerns about the way the trust is being handled or its validity, speaking to an experienced contentious trusts solicitor can help you to determine whether it's something you can and should proceed with.

Forbes Solicitors can help you to find out if you have a legal basis on which to dispute the trust and help you understand how the whole process works, so you know what to expect at every stage.

Time limits for challenging a contentious trust

There are time limits for making a claim about some kinds of trust disputes, and these can vary, depending on the grounds and evidence for the challenge. Ideally, a claim for breach of trust should be brought as soon as possible after the breach occurred or was discovered, to give the best chance of a positive outcome.

At Forbes Solicitors, we understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one and then go on to have doubts or concerns about a trust that they created. We always treat every case and client with sensitivity and strive to achieve the best possible result each time, always keeping you informed about the status of your claim and what you might expect to happen next.

If you're considering challenging a contentious trust, get in touch with our team for more information about the next steps. Call us on 0800 689 3607, request a call back or enquire online.

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