Tested, Experienced Counsel Through Trust Contests
The Law Office of Curtis E. Shirley, LLC, represents both those who are seeking to challenge an estate plan or defend themselves from such a challenge. With over 30 years of legal experience, trust contest attorney Curtis Shirley serves clients across Indiana with an exceptional knowledge of estate law and of the estate litigation process. Detail-oriented and efficient, he provides clear counsel through the complex process of contesting or defending a trust.
Common Reasons To Contest A Trust
In a will contest, the local court probates a will, which is a public document. In contrast, trusts are private documents that are not probated by a court. This can especially be the case when a trust concerns divisions of closely held business assets. You may have a difficult time obtaining a copy of the trust at issue. If you receive special notice of the trust as specified by statute, you may have only 90 days to file a trust contest, even if you do not know who inherits what. This is a very short time frame in which to hire an attorney and file the necessary paperwork with the court.
Just like a will, the most common reason to challenge a trust or trust Amendment is the decedent did not appear to be of sound mind to sign any legal document. If the decedent struggled to remember the names of family members, suffered other memory problems, was often confused or disoriented, or suffered from a medical problem such as dementia prior to their death, they may not have been of sound mind.
Unlike a will, there are very few formal requirements to have a valid trust. However, because trusts are so private, they are more vulnerable to undue influence. If the estate planning attorney who helped draft the trust was hired by a beneficiary of the trust, if that beneficiary was involved in drafting the trust, or if the beneficiary isolated the decedent from the rest of their family or loved ones after the trust or trust amendment was created, they may have exercised undue influence over the decedent.
You may also have questions about certain trust language. There can be confusion about the rightful beneficiaries, who should receive the income, or who should receive the principal. There can be a conflict between those beneficiaries who stand to inherit portions of the assets in the trust at different times. Beneficiaries may want to remove or replace a trustee because the fees are too high, or because the trust has lost a great deal of value. Meanwhile, fiduciaries charged with taking care of the money of others far too often treat the trust as their own piggy bank.
When trust words or phrases are confusing, the court is required to interpret the language. You may wish to petition the court to change or reform a trust. If a document does not reflect the actual intention of the creator of the trust, you might be able to have it modified.
Seek A Skilled, Knowledgeable Trust Contest Attorney
For vigorous and effective representation in any trust dispute, or if have a question, contact Mr. Shirley. He has the knowledge and skill to represent clients in court, at the negotiating table, and in mediation over any disputed trust matter. He has the experience to investigate and obtain more information, discuss all of your options with you and recommend how you can better decide what to do. It is important for you to know the best and worst possible outcomes, the fees and expenses of moving forward, and the risks involved. To schedule a consultation, call 317-439-5648 or contact Mr. Shirley online.