A trust contest is a formal objection to the validity of a trust. When someone contests a trust they are saying that the document does not truly reflect the intent of the person who created the trust also known as the trustor or the grantor. For example, if a beneficiary has evidence that amendments to a trust agreement are fraudulent, then a court may declare the amendments to be invalid. If you are an interested party in a trust contest, in order to ensure that your legal rights are protected it is important that you contact an experienced Chicago trust contest lawyer who has the knowledge and resources to represent your interests.Contesting a Trust in Chicago
A trust cannot be challenged by anyone who chooses to. Simply because you believe that there is a question as to whether or not a trust is a valid does not mean you have the legal right to petition the court and demand that the trust be declared invalid. Under Illinois law only those who have legal standing to pursue a trust contest will be allowed to do so. In other words, you must be an interested party. In order to have standing to object to a trust you must be someone who is named in the trust as a beneficiary, or you must be someone who would benefit if the trust is declared invalid.Grounds for a Trust Contest
Even if you have standing to contest a trust, you still must have legal grounds to contest to contest it. Generally, a trust contest must be based on one of the following on the grounds:
- Lack of capacity to create a trust. If the person who created the trust was suffering from a mental incapacity at the time that the trust was created and executed, the trust would not be valid. For example, if the trustor suffered a head injury or a brain injury that resulted in dementia then there may be valid grounds for a trust contest. A diagnosis of dementia or another type of mental incapacity is not enough for a trust to deemed invalid. There must be evidence that at the time the trust was executed the trustor did not understand or appreciate the implications of creating the trust and naming beneficiaries. To learn more about what is means to have the capacity to create a trust, contact a Chicago trust contest lawyer.
- Fraud. Allegations of fraud could be based on evidence that the trustor did not in fact create the trust document, or that the trustor did not write or execute amendments to the trust agreement.
- Undue influence. Undue influence refers to someone who is in a position of power over the trustor manipulating or influencing the trustor to create a trust that is beneficial to that person.
- Duress. Duress refers to using force or using the threat of force in order to cover earth someone to create a trust that is beneficial to that person.
If you have concerns about the validity of a trust due to allegations of the duress, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, or fraud, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced contest attorney in Chicago to review your concerns.Consequences of a Successful Trust Contest
If a court determines that the trust is not valid, the property in the trust will revert to the decedent’s probate estate. This means that if the person who created the trust also has will, the property will be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. In the absence of a will, the court will have no other choice but to distribute the trust property in accordance with Illinois’ intestate succession laws rather than based on the terms of the trust.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Challenging the validity of a trust can be legally and emotionally complicated. Oftentimes disputes related to trusts involve delicate family relationships. If you are a trustee, beneficiary, or other interested party concerned about whether or not a trust or amendments are valid, it is important that you are represented by a skilled trust contest attorney serving clients in Chicago who has the knowledge and resources to ensure that your legal rights are protected. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in matters relating to trust, wills, and other estate documents. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.