When someone creates a trust, they transfer control of their property into the care of a trustee, who manages and maintains the assets of the account until they are distributed to the grantor’s named beneficiaries. Sometimes, the person who creates the trust will also assume the role of trustee.
There are several types of trusts that can be created in Sugar Land. Depending on the way the trust was set up, assets may be distributed to the beneficiaries either before or after the grantor’s death.
You should talk with an experienced trust and estates attorney if you need help challenging a trust or responding to someone’s dispute regarding assets. A lawyer from Romano & Sumner can examine your situation and advise you of your best options when approaching trust litigation in Sugar Land.
It is essential to understand that the law provides a limited window of time for someone to contest a breach by a trustee and initiate litigation proceedings. If someone wishes to contest a trustee’s actions, called an action for breach of fiduciary duty, the law gives them four years from when the event giving rise to litigation occurred. If litigation is not commenced within that four-year window, any interested party may lose their right to file suit.
The process of litigating a trust tends to be complicated and sometimes drawn out. Once litigation proceedings are commenced, the court will hold a series of hearings. A period of investigation called discovery will occur, allowing parties to exchange evidence with each other.
One important aspect of discovery is taking depositions. A deposition is a statement that is recorded and taken under penalty of perjury. Each side can take depositions from the other, interviewing the interested parties involved with their attorneys present as well as third-party and expert witnesses.
It is not uncommon for parties to wait over a year from when the initial complaint is filed to their day in court before the judge. However, a local legal advisor could help someone respond to trust litigation or advise them of what legal grounds they may have to initiate litigation in as timely of a manner as possible.
There are several common reasons why trust litigation may be necessary. Often, litigation occurs because one or more parties are contesting the trust’s provisions related to the distribution of assets. The existence of the trust itself may be contested if a party can show that the grantor was under duress or lacked capacity when the document was executed.
Instances of fraud or lack of clarity regarding the grantor’s intent may also give rise to trust litigation. It is the trustee’s legal obligation to adhere to the trust’s provisions and serve the best interests of the beneficiaries. If the trustee is derelict in their legal duty, the beneficiaries may find it necessary to file a breach of fiduciary duty action to challenge the management of the trust.
If you are considering whether trust litigation is advisable, or you require assistance responding to a lawsuit that has been filed, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
A Sugar Land trust attorney can explain your options given the facts of your case and assist you throughout the litigation process to advocate for the best possible outcome. Call Romano & Sumner today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation with one of our attorneys.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC