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Can You Contest a Trust in Florida?

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Tampa Probate Lawyer / Blog / Trust / Can You Contest a Trust in Florida?

Can You Contest a Trust in Florida?


Trusts are an important part of many estate plans. Creating a trust holds many benefits, including the protection of assets for your heirs and making sure beneficiaries receive their inheritance right away. Unfortunately, simply drafting a trust will not guarantee that it will work in the way it was intended. Different issues may arise, and these may require the help of a Tampa trusts lawyer. Below, our attorney outlines the basics of contesting a trust in Florida.

Why are Trusts Contested? 

People may contest a trust for many reasons. The most common of these include:

  • Lack of capacity: Grantors, or a person who creates a trust, must have the legal mental capacity to create and sign legal documents. When contesting a trust on the grounds of a lack of mental capacity, a person must show that the grantor did not understand who would benefit from the trust, the assets being held within it, and other terms of the document. Illnesses such as dementia and prescription medications can show a lack of mental capacity.
  • Undue influence: Undue influence means a grantor was coerced, threatened, or under duress when signing or creating the trust.
  • Improper execution: Florida law governs how to properly execute a trust. For example, if a trust is not signed by two witnesses, it is not properly executed.
  • Trust mismanagement: Trustees manage trusts for the grantor. Trustees must act according to the grantor’s wishes and according to the terms of the trust. When they fail to do this, trusts can be contested.

Who Can Contest Trusts?

 A person can only contest a trust if they have standing. To have standing means that a person has a direct interest in the trust, the grantor, the trustee, or a previous trust. In the majority of cases, people who have standing in a trust are family members of the grantor and individuals who have been named in previous trusts.

How to Contest a Trust 

To contest a trust, the first step is to speak to a Tampa trusts lawyer. The first step in contesting a trust is to file a lawsuit, and an attorney can help you do it.

As with most other lawsuits, the two sides can reach a settlement out of court without court intervention. This requires a great deal of negotiation, which is when a lawyer’s experience is extremely valuable. Lawyers are skilled negotiators and will know how to reach a settlement. If the case cannot be settled outside of court, the parties will have to appear in court so a judge can make the final decision on the case. While in court, both sides can present evidence to establish why a trust should or should not be upheld.

Our Trusts Lawyer Can Advise on Your Case 

Whether you need to contest a trust or defend against one, our trusts lawyer at Messina Law Group, P.A. can help. We also have offices in New Port Richey OR Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and Dunedin.  Call us now at (813) 492-7798 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable attorney and to get the legal help you need.



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