Although trust lawsuits are less common than will contests, these are still extremely important to pay attention to if you are involved as a beneficiary or as a trustee. Trust litigation often arises due to claims between beneficiaries and trustees, such as when a beneficiary believes that a trustee has not acted in accordance with the terms of the trust or is engaged in unethical or illegal dealings. Wrongful acts by trustees are common type of trust lawsuits as you would learn from speaking to a trust litigation lawyer in Iowa.
As a trust litigation attorney in Iowa can tell you, trustees have certain responsibilities under state law and in general. This means that the trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries and must run the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Failure to provide a proper accounting or appropriate communication are common reasons that a beneficiary might question a trustee’s actions. There are also situations in which someone might consider challenging an accounting of a trust which could raise to the level of trust litigation.
Trustees might be removed from a trust if it can be shown that they engaged in illegal activities or those that violated their fiduciary duty. Excessive trustee fees or self-dealing are two common examples. When it comes to self-dealing, this involves claims in which a trustee is using trust money to fund their own business or personal expenses and this can lead to trust litigation.
Another common scenario for trust litigation is when the deceased person has a second husband or wife and the decedent who put together the trust first had their own biological children with the deceased party. A stepparent would usually want to take an action to remove those biological children from the trust, meaning that the stepparent is the primary beneficiary of the trust when this was not the case before. This is a common circumstance in which trust litigation will be started or someone will challenge the very basis of the trust altogether.
In all of these circumstances, it’s important to have an Iowa trust litigation attorney to help you. As a beneficiary you should never open a trust litigation claim on your own and likewise you should never be involved in the process of defending yourself as a trustee without the support of a legal representative. Trust litigation claims are complex and even the mere threat of trust litigation should prompt you to get legal counsel immediately.
There are many different issues to be untangled in these types of cases and it can be hard to understand what to expect without first speaking to an attorney who has a depth of experience in this field. When sitting down with a trust litigation attorney, you’ll have a better sense of the common issues likely to be brought up in the case and anything that you can do to prepare yourself or to defend yourself depending on your circumstances in relation to the trust. Having an attorney who has supported others in these claims before will ease your concerns and make it that much easier for you to take action promptly. Dealing with trust litigation can be costly and also frustrating since the trustee will need to spend trust assets to defend themselves or to handle any trust contests. This means it is in your best interests to have an attorney who knows what they are doing and who will not unnecessarily delay these circumstances. You may be able to resolve your trust litigation claim outside of court with the right lawyer involved in the process sooner rather than later.