Many of our readers may have heard that trusts help a family avoid probate. This is true in that property held in Ohio trusts do not go through the normal estate administration process. Indeed, trusts are extremely powerful estate planning tools that can withstand many challenges.
However, this does not mean that a family member, close friend or charity has no legal recourse if they feel like a trust has been misinterpreted.
People may also take appropriate legal action if they feel like a trustee is not performing their legal responsibilities properly.
To make a legal claim a person needs to file a proper lawsuit, often called a trust contest or referred to as docketing a trust, in the correct Ohio court. As with all legal cases, detailed rules and court procedures will apply.
Ultimately, the person filing the claim may have to present their case to a judge for a decision.
There are grounds for contesting the validity of a trust
As is the case with wills, people can also challenge trusts as invalid. Common reasons for challenging a trust include fraud, duress or undue influence.
All three of the words refer to slightly different forms of misconduct, but the idea is that a person, usually someone who stands to benefit from a trust, may not unfairly force, trick, or pressure a person to create a trust or write a trust in a certain way.
A person may also challenge a trust if the person was not competent to sign it or if the trust does not meet Ohio’s legal requirements.
Contesting a trust may be the best way a family member or other person has for getting a rightful share of their loved one’s property.
This is just one detailed example of how a family member may need to litigate about a trust in order to secure their rights.