If you have a loved one who has passed away and left behind a trust, you may be concerned about the validity of that legal document. A trust is normally established to hold assets and to protect them against collections from creditors. It is also used to separate assets from the owner and to lower their overall estate taxes.
However, sometimes, trusts are created fraudulently. For example, if an elder is confused or doesn’t have the capacity to make legal decisions, someone could take advantage of them and convince them to sign documents creating a trust with them as a beneficiary. In that case, it would be a good idea for family members or a representative of the estate to step in and question the validity of the trust.
When may a trust be invalidated?
There are a few times when a trust may be invalidated. For example, if you can show that undue influence resulted in the beneficiaries being changed or a trust being created that didn’t exist before, then the court may void the trust and return the assets to the estate for standard distribution.
A trust may also be invalidated if it does not have the right number of signatures from people who will not benefit from the trust. Forging signatures also invalidates a trust and is a fraudulent act.
A trust could be voided if you can show that your loved one did not have the testamentary capacity to make the decisions they did. If they were unaware of what they were doing or couldn’t understand, then their signature may not be binding.
How can you prove that a trust should be voided?
If you have concerns about a trust that was formed close to your loved one’s death or a trust that had the beneficiaries changed suddenly, it’s a good idea to start collecting information to support your claim. You may want to provide your attorney with past wills and trusts from your loved one as well as medical documents or signs of undue influence. Doing this may help you build a case that can be used successfully in court.