A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person names another to hold an estate on behalf of a third person until certain conditions are met for those assets to be released to their intended owner. The person who grants the trust is called the ‘settlor’ or ‘grantor,’ the one who protects the assets is the ‘trustee,’ and the intended recipient of the trust is often referred to as the ‘beneficiary.’ In most cases, the grantor will set specific instructions and qualifying expectations that the trustee must meet in order to fulfill their legal obligations.
In some circumstances, however, one of the parties involved in the trust might feel the need to dispute the conditions set by the trust. In order for an established trust to be amended or terminated, the person contesting for change must have proper standing. In the majority of circumstances, the individual usually has to be the beneficiary in order to contest the trust, though there are many different reasons why someone might want to contest the grantor’s wishes.
1. Inaccurate reflection of the grantor’s wishes
In some circumstances, the beneficiary might feel that the details laid out by the trust might not accurately represent the wishes of the settlor. There could be a variety of reasons for this, such as if there are allegations that the grantor was unduly influenced by someone else when setting the terms of the trust. It could even be claimed that the details of the trust where set under duress or forged under fraudulent circumstances.
2. The trust doesn’t serve it’s intended purpose
It is possible that the circumstances of the individuals involved in the trust were different when the trust was conceived to where they stand at the time of the trust’s enforcement, and this could mean that terms are enforced that are no longer relevant.
For example, in some instances, a trust can actually cost more to administer than the beneficiaries are able to receive, which undermines the purpose of the trust is to profit the beneficiary.
In most cases, the nature of a trust is to avoid financial disputes altogether, which can make it all the more difficult when parties are forced into a situation where they feel they have to contest the terms set out by the trust. In order to deal with delicate matters like this sensitively, it is important to seek the counsel of The Inheritance Experts who can help you protect your rights while preserving relationships with those involved.
3. Ambiguity within the terms of the trust
Sometimes the documents writing out the terms and conditions of the trust can be quite ambiguous when it comes to the language used or the instructions laid out.
In these instances, the beneficiary may make a claim for the court to declare a judgment of what the grantor’s intent was for the instructions, and to modify the terms of the agreement accordingly. In some instances, this could also provide grounds for the trust to be terminated altogether.