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Can I challenge a trust in Michigan?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Wills & Trusts

There are multiple reasons why people decide to create trusts when planning an estate. Often, concerns about family conflict are a driving force behind the decision to draft a trust. Trustors can preserve their resources for specific purposes, minimize family conflict and take greater control over their legacies by funding trusts.

Their decisions regarding the trust that they create and fund might potentially frustrate their loved ones and presumptive beneficiaries. Occasionally, people may feel compelled to challenge a trust because they question the terms included in the original documents or the actions of the trustee.

What is generally necessary for someone to contest a trust in Michigan?

An interest in the trust

One of the most important restrictions on challenging a trust has to do with someone’s interest in the trust. Typically, only beneficiaries of a trust or others with a vested interest in the trust have any authority to initiate legal action related to the trust. However, there are a few exceptions to that standard. For example, creditors who suspect fraudulent transfers could sometimes take legal action against a trust in hopes of securing repayment. For the most part, only those who have a verifiable interest in the trust as a beneficiary have the option of taking legal action.

A documented issue

Even those with a clear interest in a trust cannot simply sue because they are unhappy with their inheritances. Instead, they need to have a legitimate grievance. Perhaps they believe that the trustee has violated their fiduciary duty. Their goal might be to get them to act in accordance with trust paperwork or possibly remove them from their position. Other times, concerns about the influence of a third party on the trustor when they created the documents might lead to litigation. Those hoping to challenge or contest a trust in Michigan probate court typically need proof that they have an interest in the trust and reasonable grounds for taking legal action.

Provided that a case meets the necessary standards, it is sometimes possible to challenge the terms of a trust or the actions of the person administering it. Learning more about probate and trust laws can be useful for those who are concerned about protecting their inheritance rights. The Michigan probate courts usually only help those who recognize when they need legal intervention and take action accordingly.