You may contest a trust by filing a petition with the probate court. The petition should contain all the reasons you feel the trust is invalid. Before ruling on your petition, the Judge will require that you serve all interested parties with the petition and notice of the hearing. Contesting a trust is very tricky, however. It should only be attempted by trust attorneys. Before taking any action, you might want to consider the following points:
- Does the trust include a “no-contest” clause? If it does, you may trigger it by filing a contest and forfeit whatever you could receive under the trust’s terms. Trust attorneys can usually nullify “no-contest” clauses by building probable cause that the trust appeared invalid prior to filing a petition contesting its validity;
- Where is the trust being administered? Knowing this will help you determine which court has jurisdiction to rule on your petition. If it is filed in the wrong jurisdiction, you may be subject to sanctions.
- What are the common grounds for a trust contest? Most trust contests we handle involve undue influence in the creation of the trust instrument. Trusts are also often contested on grounds of forgery, fraud, elder abuse, menace, lack of capacity, improper formation, lack of funding and coercion.
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