Some people bypass probate by creating a trust to hold assets until beneficiaries can receive them. However, this does not mean someone cannot go to court to contest the terms of a trust. Sometimes a family must deal with a legal battle over who gets money or property in a trust.
Smart Asset describes the common reasons that someone may bring legal action against a trust.
Coercion or incompetency
In various instances, family members or potential beneficiaries feel that a trust grantor created or modified a trust under coercion or there was undue influence. Sometimes this happens because the grantor is old, socially isolated or incompetent, making it easy for a relative or apparent friend to manipulate the grantor so the trust benefits the coercing party.
Forgery or fraud
If a grantor dies and leaves a trust that does not line up with previously stated wishes of the grantor, family members may suspect that the grantor was not the one who made the trust. Sometimes malicious parties forge trust documents to create a trust or modify an existing trust for their own enrichment.
A trustee is a person who oversees the trust and manages it according to the wishes of the grantor. However, some trustees break their duty to beneficiaries by damaging or even stealing trust assets. Beneficiaries can respond by going to court to remove the trustee on the grounds of a breach of fiduciary duty.
It is possible that a relative just disagrees with your decisions. However, contesting the trust on such grounds might not go anywhere if you composed your trust without duress and your trustee does not break legal or ethical standards in administering your trust. Discussing your trust choices with your family could help avoid unnecessary legal battles.