New York Estate Litigation: Trust Contests | Cona Elder Law

Trust Contests

A trust contest is similar to a Will contest. A person may use a living trust rather than a Will to provide for the ultimate distribution of his or her assets upon death. Like a Will, the validity of a trust may be contested.

At Cona Elder Law, we bring more than 20 years of experience representing parties from both sides of a trust content. We regularly represent beneficiaries who feel they've been treated unfairly as well as trustees who have a fiduciary duty to administer the trust. Regardless of the circumstances, the New York Estate Litigation attorneys at Cona Elder Law will work to protect your rights and guide you through the process.  

What Circumstances Can Prompt a Trust Contest?

If a trust beneficiary has concerns about the terms of a trust, contacting the Estate Litigation attorneys at Cona Elder Law is a crucial first step. After reviewing the details of your claim, we'll guide you toward the best next step to initiate legal action as long as there is sufficient evidence. Circumstances that may initiate these proceedings include:

  • Undue influence, where an individual manipulates the grantor to their advantage
  • Mental incapacity, where the grantor did not have capacity to execute a trust
  • The discovery of a "surprise" alternate trust document

Trust Contests Caused by Undue Influence

To successfully overturn a trust because of undue influence, the contestant must clearly show the deceased individual experienced influence in bequeathing assets or was influenced into making the trust. Whenever a beneficiary of the trust shares a relationship of confidence with the maker of the trust and the beneficiary of the trust benefitted from this relationship, the courts can infer the trust beneficiary unduly influenced the maker of the trust. In this instance, it's up to the beneficiary to prove no undue influence took place. The trust contest attorneys in New York at Cona Elder Law can help.

Trust Contests Caused by Lack of Mental Capacity

People with terminal illnesses, those suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia, and those under the influence of heavy medications may be more likely to demonstrate a lack of capacity to create a trust.

In order to overturn a trust based on mental incapacity, the contestant must demonstrate that the maker of the trust failed to understand:

  1. The terms of the trust
  2. The nature and extent of their property
  3. Their relationship to their relatives and others affected by the trust.

As you can see, some of these circumstances are quite open to interpretation. Because of this, it's vital to have the experienced representation of the New York trust contest attorneys at Cona Elder Law. We'll work to protect your rights and your interests.  

Who Can Challenge a Trust?

Only an individual with legal standing (someone who will be personally affected by the trust) can challenge the trust. Two of the most common parties who traditionally demonstrate standing to question the validity of the trust include:

  1. Disadvantaged or disinherited beneficiaries - Family, charities, friends, and other beneficiaries who were named or bequeathed a larger portion of the estate in a previous trust.
  2. Disadvantaged or disinherited heirs at law - Family members who may inherit more if the deceased person never made a trust.

Contact Cona Elder Law for Trust Contest Litigators in New York

The decision to contest a trust or to defend a trust contest should not be taken lightly. Yes, it may result in hurt feelings and a deterioration of relationships. However, if the issue cannot be amicably resolved out of court, action becomes necessary. The New York Estate Litigation attorneys of Cona Elder Law will work to protect your rights.

Contact Cona Elder Law today.

Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help You with a Trust Contest