A trust is a fiduciary arrangement whereby property or assets are held by a trustee on behalf of a beneficiary. If you believe that your legal rights are being violated, you can file a lawsuit in an Arizona court to contest the validity or administration of a trust. While challenging a trust can be difficult, remedies are available. Here, our Scottsdale trust litigation attorney highlights the most common grounds for contesting a trust in Arizona.
Five Grounds to Contest a Trust in Arizona
- Lack of Sufficient Mental Capacity
To create an enforceable legal trust, a grantor (trustor) must have sufficient mental capacity. A person who is no longer legally competent—often because of cognitive impairment or other health issues—may no longer have the authority to create or amend a trust. A trust can be challenged on the grounds that the trustor lacked mental capacity at the time it was created or at the time that documents were changed.
- Undue Influence By Another Party
Similarly, a trust may be deemed invalid on the grounds that another party unduly influenced the grantor. Undue influence claims are highly complicated legal cases. As explained by the American Bar Association (ABA), undue influence is often difficult to define: It must always be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you believe that your rights were affected by another party exercising undue influence on your loved one, you should contact a Scottsdale trust litigation attorney right away.
- Defects With Trust Documents
In order to be legally valid, a trust must conform to certain elements of Arizona law. If you believe that there are fundamental defects in the trust documents, it is possible that the trust can be effectively challenged on those grounds. This could lead to the trust being altered or eliminated altogether.
- Trust Language is Ambiguous
At its core, a trust is a written legal document. Unfortunately, in some cases, trust documents include confusing language or ambiguous terms. It is possible that two or more parties may interpret the trust to mean different things. An Arizona court may need to step in to determine the true intent of the grantor.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Trust administrators owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust. Fiduciaries owe the highest standard of care to the trust beneficiaries and they have a responsibility to execute their position with a reasonable level of skill and competence and to act in the best interests of other parties. If a trustee severely mismanaged your funds and caused you financial harm, you can take legal action to hold them liable.
Contact Our Arizona Trust Litigation Lawyer Today
At The Law Offices of Mary T. Hone, PLLC, our Arizona estate planning attorney has the skills and experience to represent clients in trust litigation. If you are considering contesting a trust, we can help. To arrange a fully confidential review of your case, please contact our law firm right away. With an office location in Scottsdale, we serve clients throughout Arizona.