Trusts provide an efficient way to avoid probate and ensure a smooth distribution of assets upon the settlor’s death. However, if things do not go as expected, is it possible to contest a trust in Florida? Keep reading to find out.
How to Contest a Trust in Florida – Understanding the Basics
In Florida, there are two main types of trusts – revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts are trusts that permit modifications, amendments, or even the termination of the arrangement (in whole or part).
On the other hand, irrevocable trusts accept no modifications or amendments once the trust agreement is signed by the settlor. In any case, all types of trusts become irrevocable upon the settlor’s death, as it is no longer possible to modify the arrangement.
Therefore, only a person with an interest in the asset(s) held in trust can ask a court to modify or eliminate the arrangement. Typically, having the proper legal standing to contest a trust requires the plaintiff to be a beneficiary of the trust.
Otherwise, it is unlikely that the plaintiff will have success in contesting the trust.
Why Would I Contest a Trust in Florida? – Most Common Reasons
Having a proper legal standing is not sufficient to contest a trust in Florida, as the court will require solid grounds for the lawsuit. Within state jurisdiction, the most common reasons that lead to trust contest lawsuits include:
- Invalid trusts (either entirely or partially)
- Lack of proper accounting by the trust’s trustee
- Breach of fiduciary duty
A trustee must uphold a fiduciary duty to the property held in the trust and the beneficiaries of the arrangement, acting only in the best interest of them and managing the trust efficiently. Plus, statutory rules require trustee(s) to provide a detailed accounting to the beneficiaries.
If a trustee fails to uphold the fiduciary duty or the trust fails due to poor management or lack of accounting, it is possible to file a lawsuit in court to remove a defaulting trustee.
Under Florida law, the execution of trusts must follow a specific set of procedures to ensure full legal compliance. Hence, if a settlor did not create the arrangement with a sound mind, it may be possible to challenge for lack of capacity.
For example, a trust created by a person suffering from dementia or under the influence of drugs is not valid. Similarly, if a person creates a trust under threat or coercion, the arrangement is not valid either.
When contesting a trust in Florida, the plaintiff must pay attention to the statute of limitations.
Although there are statutory rules that provide the time allowed to contest the validity of a revocable trust, each situation is different, and the period varies depending on whether the trustee sent proper notice as required by law.
Generally, the statute of limitations to contest a trust in Florida is six months upon the receipt of notice from a trustee. However, the period allowed will depend on each case’s circumstances; thus, make sure to consult with a knowledgeable trust attorney.
Are You Still Unsure About Contesting a Trust in Florida? – Immediately Contact an Expert Attorney
Depending on the case, the statute of limitations to challenge a trust might be overwhelmingly short. Waste no time, every second counts – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.