Losing a loved one is an emotional event. But, even while coping with the loss, families may find themselves contesting the deceased’s trust, much like a will dispute.
A trust can be contested for many reasons, such as undue influence or the lack of testamentary capacity. Additionally, family members and beneficiaries may challenge the trustee’s actions for violating the trust’s terms.
Keep reading to learn more about trust disputes in Texas.
When Should You Dispute a Texas Trust?
Deciding whether to challenge a trust is not always an easy process. However, if one of the following events occurs (or you believe it to occur), you may want to consider meeting with a qualified Texas trust litigation lawyer to decide how to best move forward.
Here are some common reasons that trusts are challenged:
- The wording in the trust is confusing, ambiguous, or unclear, making it difficult to know what your loved one wanted.
- Your loved one lacked the mental capacity to sign the trust, meaning they didn’t mentally grasp what they were doing when creating the trust.
- Another family member or person exerted “undue influence” on your loved one, meaning they were forced to sign the legal document without knowing what it was.
- Someone forged your loved one’s signature on the trust document.
- The trustee (the person appointed to manage the trust) is not following the terms of the document or is stealing assets.
- Payment from the trust was made to the wrong beneficiary.
- Payment from the trust failed to be made to a beneficiary.
- The trustee failed to provide proper reporting when managing the trust.
How Long Can a Trust Dispute Take?
In Texas, the statute of limitations to challenge a trust’s terms or a trustee’s actions in four years. In other words, litigation must be filed within four years of the trust’s formation or within four years of the trustee’s breach of fiduciary duty (meaning the duty to act in the best interest of your loved one and their beneficiaries).
After the four-year statute of limitations passes, then you lose the right to sue.
However, in some instances, the four-year statute of limitations may be tolled (or stopped). For example, the statute of limitations may be stopped until the breach is actually discovered (or reasonably should have been discovered). Additionally, the statute of limitations is often tolled when the beneficiaries are incompetent or under the age of 18.
Can a Trust Dispute Lead to Litigation?
Unfortunately, yes. When disputing a trust, litigation is often filed by a family member or beneficiary to resolve any issues.
In these instances, it’s best to have the help of a skilled Texas trust litigation attorney to help you navigate this legal process. At Norris & Weber, our experienced and compassionate attorneys are dedicated to protecting your family’s future. If you are facing difficult matters related to trust administration or litigation, you can rely on our firm to defend your best interests and help make this challenging time go as smoothly as possible. Our attorneys share over 85 years of experience and are ready to put their knowledge on your side.