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By: Scott Grossman on October 15th, 2016

Spouse’s Must Consider Carefully Before Suing a Trustee

Most trusts are created within the proper circumstances.  However, there are trusts that are created involving fraud, undue influence, or other illegal activity. As a result, your spouse may discover after the death of a loved one that they have been omitted as a beneficiary. It’s possible suing a trustee on your spouse’s behalf may be necessary to protect their rightful inheritance.

Four Considerations Before Suing a Trustee on Behalf of Your Spouse

Before taking action, it is important to consider several important items, including the following:

  1. If the trust contains a no-contest clause, it could negatively impact your spouse to challenge its validity. A no-contest clause often states that beneficiaries who challenge the trust and lose forfeit any other distribution they may have been entitled to, or minimize that amount. Before filing a suit, it’s important that an experienced attorney reviews the terms of a no-contest clause.
  2. Even if the trust contains a no-contest clause, if your spouse otherwise does not stand to receive anything under the trust, it may not matter that the no-contest clause exists. Your spouse may have nothing to lose and may ultimately decide that it is worth pursuing the legal action.
  3. Trust litigation matters may require an initial financial investment and may take some time to reach a resolution. As such, individuals omitted as beneficiaries should discuss the potential pros and cons before pursuing any particular remedy.
  4. If you are attempting to sue on behalf of your trust, it is crucial to understand whether or not you have the proper standing to do so. If you are lacking this standing, your lawsuit will not succeed. Instead, your spouse may need to initiate the suit on his or her own behalf.

The decision to pursue trust litigation isn’t easy. Fortunately, we are here to answer your questions. We encourage you to contact us for guidance today!