Trust litigation in Texas refers to legal disputes that arise in connection with a trust or the administration of a trust. Trusts are a common estate planning tool used by individuals to pass on assets to their beneficiaries while also avoiding the probate process. However, disputes can arise between trustees, beneficiaries, and other interested parties that can lead to trust litigation.
Common reasons for trust litigation in Texas include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty. Trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to administer the trust according to its terms. If a trustee breaches this duty by mismanaging trust assets or acting in their own self-interest, beneficiaries may file a lawsuit to remove the trustee or hold them accountable for damages.
- Disputes over distribution of assets. Beneficiaries may disagree over how trust assets should be distributed. This can arise the language contained in the trust document is contradictory or ambiguous or when a beneficiary believes for various reasons that they are entitled to a larger share of the trust assets than the other beneficiaries.
- Trust modification or termination. In some cases, beneficiaries may seek to modify or terminate a trust. This can occur when the trust no longer serves its original purpose, or when there are changes in circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to administer the trust according to its terms.
- Trust contests. Beneficiaries may challenge the validity of a trust, alleging that it was executed under duress or undue influence, or that the grantor lacked the required mental capacity to create the trust.
- Accounting disputes. Beneficiaries may seek an accounting of trust assets and expenses to ensure that the trustee is properly managing the trust and fulfilling their fiduciary duties.
- Charitable trust disputes. Charitable trusts are trusts established for charitable purposes. Disputes can arise when there are questions about how the charitable assets are being used or when the trust is mismanaged.
- Removal of a trustee. Removal of a trustee refers to the process of removing a trustee from their position of managing a trust. This may occur if the trustee breaches their fiduciary duties, misappropriates trust assets, or negligently manages trust property.
Trust litigation typically begins with filing a petition in a statutory probate or district court. The petition describes the basis for the dispute and requests relief from the court, such as removing a trustee, modifying a trust, or ordering an accounting of trust assets. The parties involved in the dispute will then have an opportunity to present evidence and argue their case in court.
Trust litigation in Texas can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced trust litigation attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and work to protect your interests. With the help of a skilled trust litigator, you can work to resolve your trust dispute and ensure that your rights are protected.
To schedule a consultation with one of our trust litigation attorneys at Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC, please call us today at (210) 418-1150 or send us a message by completing the intake form on our website.