Many trusts are managed without any serious issues. Occasionally, legal issues between parties of the trust – such as the trustee and beneficiaries – arise. For example, a trust contest may occur when a beneficiary believes that trust funds are being mismanaged. Sometimes, an elderly individual’s trust fund may be taken advantage of by a coercive family member or friend. As such, trust litigation can be a complicated process.
In the event that something has gone awry with your loved one’s trust, you can take action. In seeking the help of a skilled trust contest attorney, you have the best chance of correcting any issues that have arisen. When the relationship between the trustee and the beneficiaries is strained, a lawyer can be incredibly helpful in untangling the issues between the two parties. Though trust disputes can quickly become complicated, the presence of an attorney will not only help you achieve a favorable outcome, but also expedite the process.
The legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC happily serves Chicago area residents with any probate or elder law conflicts that may arise. Our seasoned attorneys have the experience necessary to assist you with any obstacles surrounding trust contests. We are serious about helping you through legally complex situations. Communication is paramount to us. As such, our lawyer remain accessible to answer your questions and concerns every step of the way. To speak with a member of our team about your situation today, call (855) 328-5787.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Taking action to invalidate a trust is complicated. Especially if you are not familiar with the legal process, achieving a favorable outcome will be difficult if you attempt to manage your case alone. An experienced attorney can walk you through the process from the initial filing through the trial. In addition to having a better understanding of the legalities, your lawyer will have a better sense of the situation once the trial begins. This understanding will give you invaluable insight into the progress of your case, as well as the timeline.
In addition to the practical advantages of hiring an attorney, when you entrust your situation to a skilled lawyer, you can feel comfortable knowing that a lawyer is looking out for your best interest. No matter if your relationship with a trustee is strained, or if you believe that your loved one was manipulated, you are likely in the midst of an incredibly stressful situation. Hiring a lawyer is an effective way to manage some of this stress you’re dealing with as you actively pursue a good outcome.
Why Choose Peck Ritchey, LLC?
The attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC understand that issues regarding trusts can quickly become contentious subjects within families. We have over 100 years of combined experience assisting people caught up in difficult situations, including contesting trusts. In fact, contesting trusts and wills is the primary focus of our entire firm.
We are very involved in this area of the law. We frequently teach at continuing education programs for other attorneys, speak to the press to help educate the public on these issues, and even help draft new legislation for the Illinois General Assembly.
Time and time again we have been named Super Lawyers for our integrity and the consistent results that we are able to obtain for our clients. When you are going through a difficult time and need legal help with a will, trust, or estate, we know that we can be an asset to you.
Process of Contesting a Trust
Contesting a trust cannot be done by just anyone; in order to contest a trust, you must have a stake in it. The two groups of people that typically have a stake include beneficiaries and heirs. Beneficiaries are explicitly named in the trust, whereas heirs would be the spouse or relative in line to inherit the assets of the deceased. It is possible to be both an heir and a beneficiary. If you fit either or both of these descriptions, you may have legal standing to take action.
The following steps outline the basic process of contesting a trust in Illinois. Keep in mind that each situation is different and depending on your situation, the process may depart from the following timeline:
- Filing Petition – With the help of your attorney, the first step in contesting a trust typically includes filing a petition in the appropriate probate court. In order to file a petition, you must have acceptable grounds for doing so. Once the petition is filed, a summons will be served to everyone else involved.
- Discovery Process – The discovery process occurs before the trial and allows each side to request documents and information, and conduct depositions.
- Trial – During the trial, witnesses are typically interviewed and questioned in attempts to prove either the validity or invalidity of a trust. Witnesses can include anyone that has knowledge of the situation, like a beneficiary, or a medical provider.
In order to be able to file a petition in the first place, it is important to understand the grounds for being able to do so, and the lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC can help.
Common Causes of Trusts Contests
In order to begin the legal process of contesting a trust, not only must you have a stake in the trust, but you must also have proper grounds for contesting it. Being dissatisfied with the stipulations of a trust is not enough to argue that the trust is invalid. There can be any number of circumstances that lead to trusts contests. For instance, the following may be challenged:
- A trust’s formation (was the deceased coerced, manipulated, etc.?)
- A trust’s management (is the trustee mismanaging funds?)
In addition to these, the following are common grounds cited during the process of contesting the validity of a trust:
- The grantor was not of sound mind at the time that the trust was written and agreed upon
- The grantor was under the undue influence of someone else driving the decisions.
- The very creation of the trust was fraudulent. For example, if the grantor signed the trust not understanding what the document was.
- The trust was revoked before the grantor passed away.
- While creating the trust, the grantor did not follow the proper legal procedure to execute the trust.
If you have recently become involved in or are considering filing for a trust contest in the Chicago area, it may be wise to discuss your legal options with an experienced probate attorney. With a legal team by your side, the rights and interests of the testator can be better protected.
Contact a Trusts Contests Attorney in Chicago
Trust contests can be challenging and time-consuming situations to handle. If you are in the midst of a trust dispute, this may be the first, and hopefully the last, time you will have to experience one. Though this situation may be overwhelming and confusing for you, understand that these matters are not new to the team at Peck Ritchey, LLC. We have the hands-on experience needed to help you. As such, if you’re in the Chicago area, feel free to contact our Chicago probate team at Peck Ritchey, LLC today. Give us a call at (855) 328-5787 to discuss your situation with a friendly member of our legal team.