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Florida Trust Litigation Blog - Brief Trust Contest Overview

Posted September 5, 2015 in Florida Trust Litigation

Florida Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Trust Contests

Clearwater Trust Dispute Law Firm

In Florida, a trust is commonly used by individuals who want to protect or distribute assets a particular way, and often avoid the courtroom probate procedures, and therefore the annoyance and expense.

But, just like with wills, Trusts are susceptible to being challenged in Florida. A beneficiary, trustee, or other person with an interest in the trust can bring an action to challenge the validity of a trust, interpret the trust, or remove a trustee for bad acts. Although Florida Trust litigation is complex, a few of the most common types of trust lawsuits are briefly discussed below:

Common Trust Lawsuits in Florida:

Mistake in Trust Execution: A trust may be invalid if the person creating the trust (often called a Settlor or Grantor) failed to follow Florida’s requirements for creating a trust. The requirements for creation are expressly stated in Florida Statutes Section 736.0402. It is important to note that the required formalities vary based on factors such as whether the trust is irrevocable or whether the trust has real property. And, if a trust has testamentary aspects, meaning the property is meant to pass upon the Settlor’s death, the trust must be executed with the same formalities as a Will.

Undue Influence or Fraud: If the person making the trust was coerced by someone who was in a position of trust and confidence, the trust may be invalidated. It is important to note that, if only a part of the Trust was created or changed due to coercion, the rest of the trust remains valid and only that portion is invalidated. And, if a Trust is revoked due to coercion, fraud, or undue influence, the revocation is void. § 736.0406, Fla. Stat. This applies to the creation of a trust, amendment to a trust, or a restatement of a trust.

Lack of Capacity: If the creator of the trust lacks mental capacity, the trust is invalid.  This means that the Settlor must be able to understand the nature and extent of their property, the relationship of those who would be the natural objects of the testator’s bounty, and the practical effect of the Trust. A person may lack mental capacity due to a medical condition, the infirmities of aging, or the result of substantial amount of medication.

Trustee Removal: If a trustee is doing something improper, a trustee may be removed. This can be due to a Trustee’s failure to adhere to the duties and responsibilities placed on them as trustee such as stealing or spending Trust assets, favoring one beneficiary over another, or allowing trust property to waste.

The Persante Law Group proudly serves the Tampa Bay Area. We are conveniently located in Clearwater, near St. Petersburg, and Tampa. If you believe that you are in need of a Florida Trust Litigation attorney, please contact our office at (727) 796-7666.

About PersanteZuroweste

PersanteZuroweste has established a reputation as prominent trial lawyers serving clients throughout Florida. Our office is conveniently located to the Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay communities.