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What is a Trust Dispute?

A trust dispute is not an argument over someone or something on which you rely. Rather, trust dispute refers to conflicts over estate planning documents.

You (the grantor) can create a trust to protect your assets while you are still alive AND when you pass away. In the trust, you name a specific person, called a trustee, to gain legal control over your assets until the time comes for your beneficiaries to receive your estate (after you pass away). When you stop to consider the ramifications of this agreement, it is not surprising that there can be disputes regarding how the trustee handles the estate – either before or after you pass away.

Generally speaking, there are three categories of disputes that can arise in trust situations:

  1. The trustee is thought to be mismanaging the assets of the trust.
  2. The beneficiaries are unhappy with the terms of the trust. .
  3. There is reason to believe the grantor was coerced to write it a certain way by an undue influencer.

You need to have complete confidence in the person you choose to act as your trustee. This person will have access to your trust funds, be responsible for accurate accounting and reporting and have the duty of distributing your property fairly to all beneficiaries. If there is any concern that your trustee could be tempted to steal from your estate, that would not be the person to choose.

If your confidence in the trustee you choose begins to waver, you can designate a new trustee – if you have a revocable trust. (It may be possible to change the trustee of an irrevocable trust, but many considerations exist.)

Inheritance can also bring out the very worst in people – even your loved ones. Although you write a trust to solidify your wishes as to who will receive your estate when you pass away, family members or other beneficiaries may dispute your trust. They may have different reasons for their dispute such as believing:

  • The grantor was not of sound mind when they wrote the trust;
  • The trustee has not distributed the assets to them properly;
  • The trustee is not acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries;
  • The way the trust was written was ambiguous; and
  • Another beneficiary forced the grantor to leave them out of the trust.

Trust disputes must be proven in court and follow specific state laws. The Denver estate planning lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC have vast experience helping our clients with trust disputes in Colorado. Whether you feel your trust is being mismanaged or you feel you are entitled to more than what the trust outlined for you, our team can help. Take advantage of our expertise and guidance by contacting us at (303) 339-3750 or online.