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Are trusts immune from litigation and disputes?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Probate |

There is a lot of talk about the importance of avoiding probate by creating a trust.

Whether to prepare a will, which involve probating an estate in Ohio’s courts, or a trust, which would get administered outside of court, is a choice that will depend on an individual’s legal situation.

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to either approach.

However, it is important for Dayton residents to remember that trusts may not go through the probate process, but it does not mean that they cannot be a reason for a lawsuit between would-be heirs or even those outside a deceased person’s inner circle.

In these situations, much like with a will contest or probate dispute, the Ohio courts will get involved is someone files suit, and the process may entail spending a lot time, money and energy defending one’s position.

As is the case with wills, disgruntled would-be heirs can contest a trust

For example, as is the case with a will, an interested person is able to contest the validity of a trust document.

The person may, for example, argue that the trust is a fraud or forgery or that the person who created it did not meet all the legal requirements for doing so.

Other common challenges could include that the person who signed document did not have the mental capacity to understand what he or she was signing.

Undue influence, in which a person unfairly persuades a vulnerable adult to create or modify a trust document in a certain way, can also be a grounds for challenging a trusts.

Heirs and other may even challenge a trust if the trust includes unclear language or provisions that are not legally enforceable.

The point is that someone involved with a trust in any respect may need to evaluate his or her legal options when deciding to initiate litigation about a trust or when defending against a claim.