How Does a Trust Work?
Trusts come in many forms, and it’s possible to customize your trust in different ways based on your unique needs and goals for your property. At the most basic level, a trust functions as an estate planning contract by placing your property into a trust and under the ownership of your designated trustee. The trustor, or creator of the trust and original owner of the trust’s contents, stipulates which assets become part of the trust and nominates a trustee. It’s also possible to nominate a second and even third choice to account for the possibility that the trustor’s first choice of trustee is unwilling or unable to discharge their responsibilities as a trustee.
The ultimate goal of a trust is to avoid the probate process. When an individual dies without any estate plans or a minimal estate plan, the probate process is the legal procedure of transferring ownership rights of the deceased property to their beneficiaries as defined by the laws of intestate succession. Probate is a notoriously complex and stressful process, and the contents of the deceased’s estate will also be subject to estate taxes at the state and federal level.
A trust legally circumvents the need for probate by transferring ownership of the trustor’s property to a trustee. Therefore, the property contained in the trust does not technically belong to the trustor anymore, meaning probate laws do not apply. A properly constructed trust can also eliminate the possibility of inheritance disputes arising among the trustor’s beneficiaries, but this is not always guaranteed.
Why Do I Need a Trust Litigation Attorney?
A Granite City trust litigation attorney can be very valuable in the event of a dispute arising during trust administration. There are several possible scenarios in which a trust litigation attorney becomes vital:
- A beneficiary or party with a legitimate interest in the deceased’s trust believes the trustee has failed in their responsibility to properly handle the trust.
- Evidence surfaces that indicates the trust was created under duress or coercion or that the trustor was not capable of making informed and legally sound decisions regarding the creation of their trust.
- An interested party asserts that the trust was created on illegal grounds or that the creator of the trust lacked legal standing to create the trust in the first place.
- A trustor’s beneficiary designations conflict with preexisting designations assigned to specific assets or accounts included in the trust.
- Any party with an interest in the trust discovers evidence of document forgery related to the contents of the trust.
Despite the fact that a trust ultimately intends to reduce uncertainty and eliminate the possibility of disputes arising during the trust administration process, these are just a few examples of how the trust might require professional intervention from an experienced Granite City trust litigation attorney.
What Does a Trust Litigation Attorney Do?
In the event you or a loved one encounters an issue with a deceased relative’s trust or a trustee’s administration of the trust, a Granite City trust litigation attorney can provide the legal counsel you need to navigate the issue as effectively as possible. A trust litigation attorney’s main task is to address conflicts and disputes that arise during the trust administration process. If your attorney discovers clear evidence of fraud, coercion, forgery, or breach of fiduciary duty, they can provide legal counsel and help you resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
An experienced trust litigation lawyer can also uncover hidden issues within a trust. For example, depending on how the trustor originally crafted their trust, the trust itself may or may not be subject to estate taxes, or certain elements of the trust may prove more problematic than others when it comes to disbursing them to beneficiaries. Additionally, trust litigation attorneys are adept at determining which conflicts and disputes carry legal weight and which ones do not.
Trust litigation attorneys understand the state and federal laws that come into play during the trust creation and trust administration processes. These attorneys understand guardianships, conservatorships, intestate succession laws, and the various fiduciary duties involved in the trust administration process. If you encounter any type of conflict or dispute during trust administration, whether you are a trustee, a beneficiary, or another heir challenging the trust, hiring a Granite City trust litigation attorney is one of the best things you can do to reach a resolution to the matter as swiftly as possible.