Back to the Learning Center

By: Scott Grossman on August 27th, 2016

Spouses Sometimes Have Standing To Sue A Trustee


After a loved one passes away, the contents of their estate plan may sometimes be revealed to friends and family for the first time. In these cases, a person may be quite surprised and frustrated to learn that they have been left out as a beneficiary of the decedent’s trust. This individual may have grounds to pursue legal action if the trust was executed under certain circumstances. What happens when your spouse was the one who was left out of a trust, can you sue on his or her behalf? The following is an overview of this type of situation.

When Can a Suit Be Filed?

Similar to challenging the provisions of a will, a loved one omitted as a beneficiary can challenge the validity of the trust under certain circumstances. A lawsuit may be filed by or on behalf of your spouse under the following scenarios:

  1. When the trust was executed as a result of undue influence.
  2. When the trust was executed as a result of fraud.
  3. When the decedent lacked the proper mental capacity to execute a trust.
  4. When improper behavior was involved in the preparation or execution of the trust.
  5. When illegal behavior was involved in the preparation or execution of the trust.

Under these circumstances, grounds may exist for challenging the trust.

Who Has Standing to Sue?

It is important to note that only the real party in interest may file a lawsuit to challenge the validity of the trust. If the real party in interest is your spouse, it is your spouse who has standing to sue. In certain circumstances, however, you may be able to sue on your spouse’s behalf. This is true when you sue as your spouse’s attorney or as his or her attorney in fact due to incapacity.

If your spouse was left out of the provisions of a loved one’s trust and you suspect that wrongdoing took place, it is important to act quickly in order to protect your spouse’s best interests. Fortunately, we have a great deal of experience representing people in disputes involving trusts. Don’t just take our word for it—we encourage you to read the reviews of our clients by checking out our client testimonials page today.

Related Links

The Grossman Law Firm, APC · · (951) 523-8307