Legal disputes over trusts often arise when family members who have drifted apart disagree over how the property should be allocated or managed. Emotions often run high and sometimes, these disputes result in lasting turmoil that permanently harm the family structure. Attorneys providing assistance in such disputes must be sensitive to the potential for hurt feelings and at the same time, fight to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.
Trusts are occasionally disputed both properly and improperly, by individuals who feel unfairly excluded from an inheritance. On the other hand, people sometimes make decisions about their estates when they are not truly competent to decide such important matters.
In the worst case scenario, unscrupulous or self-serving people holding a position of trust or confidence can pressure an elderly and infirm person to make bequests that do not reflect his or her true desires. This is called the exercise of Undue Influence and it can serve as basis to dispute the bequest or transfer. Special rules and protections exist when testamentary gifts are made to custodial care givers, drafters of the will or trust, or attorneys involved.