Trust & Will Contest
Cogent evidence and timeliness are two significant components of a successful Trust and Will contest. Due process and efficiency are paramount to the legal system, and for such reason, statutes of limitation exist and are stringent. Therefore, if you’re considering a Trust or Will contest, it is vital to adhere to deadlines, as failure to do so can jeopardize your chance of recovering your rightful share of inheritance or rectifying errors within the Trust or Will.
Statutes of limitations are deadlines that specify and limit when a specific legal action can be brought. They are codified within your state Probate Code and determined by the legislature. Statutes of limitations are firm; failure to file within the set time provisions will bar you from bringing your claim to court. This is why it is essential to act early and seek legal counsel as soon as you are aware of the circumstances.
The most important deadline for Trust contests is the 120-day deadline. To contest the validity of a Trust, a claim must be filed within 120 days of receiving notice of the Trust. The 120 days become active as soon as the Statutory Notification by Trustee is postmarked. Trustees are mandated to send mailed notifications to all relevant parties of the Trust notifying them of its existence, the time provisions to contest, as well as other clerical information like contact information and representing counsel. A full and complete copy of the Trust, including all amendments and restatements, should be received in tandem with the notification. A Trustee’s failure to comply with their duties and send the notification will negate the 120-day restriction and pause the statutory clock. In such an event, the time frame to bring a contest will remain open, but still must be brought within a reasonable amount of time.
Wills operate in a similar fashion with slight variations. Wills must be lodged with the courts. For such reason, challenging the validity of a Will requires a claim to be filed prior to the Will being admitted to probate or within 120 days of the Will being admitted to probate. If a Will is never lodged with the courts and not admitted to probate, the 120-day clock does not start. However, this can cause complications regarding the transfer of assets, as probate is typically required to move assets within a Will.
Claims filed against Trustees for mismanagement or breach of fiduciary duties have a three-year time constraint. A claim must be filed within 3 years from the date you first became aware (or should have been aware) you had a valid claim. In some situations, Trustees can reduce the statute of limitation to 180 days after an accounting is mailed. However, this can only be done if the Trustee sends a written notification regarding the time reduction.
If you believe your inheritance is in jeopardy, please reach out to The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys to see what you can do. Our firm offers free consultations and specializes in Trust and Will litigation. We are here to help you protect your inheritance and ensure your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled honestly.