Trust litigation results when a person either challenges the validity of a trust or claims that the trustee (trust manager) violated his/her fiduciary duties in managing the trust. In challenging the validity of a trust, the typical claims are that someone unduly influenced the trust-maker (“settlor”) or that the settlor lacked the requisite testamentary (mental) capacity to create a valid trust. A person can also seek to invalidate the trust claiming that the statutory formalities in creating the trust were not met.
Often the reason for trust litigation is due to the trustee not complying with their fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries. A petition can also be brought if the trustee’s actions violate the terms and/or purpose of the trust. A trustee has certain duties in administering the trust including keeping the beneficiaries informed of the trust assets and accounting for the income to and distributions from the trust. When the trustee fails to properly administer the trust it can be crucial to seek the advice of an attorney quickly, as trust assets can potentially become unrecoverable.