Houston & Fort Worth Trust Dispute Lawyer
High-Performance Legal Counsel for Trust Issues in Texas
A trust dispute consists of a conflict between various parties that involves the terms of the trust or how a trust is administrated. These disputes can lead to lawsuits that must be handled in civil court although they may be settled outside of court. Many individuals and families in Texas and throughout the U.S. have created various types of trusts for many different purposes.
These trusts consist of fiduciary relationships where the property or assets of one party are held by a trustee. The trustee manages those assets and passes them on to the heirs and beneficiaries named in the trust document once the trust creator has passed away. Many different kinds of trusts exist, including revocable “living” trusts which are probably the most common, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, charitable trusts, and more. They are widely used in estate planning. If you need to dispute the terms or administration of a trust or are the trustee of a trust that is being disputed, you can turn to Keith Morris Attorney at Law for superior legal representation throughout all phases of this legal matter.
Disputing a Trust in Texas
Like wills, the terms or administration of a trust can be disputed for several reasons. If proven in court, the trust could be rendered invalid and a former will or trust (if one exists) may be substituted. Absent those documents, the estate will then have to be decided and settled according to state law.
Those who can dispute a trust must be persons or entities named in the trust or who have a financial interest in the property or assets of the estate. This is called a “devisee” of the contested trust; these people are considered to have “standing” in the matter. They could include spouses, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, parents, or other relatives or beneficiaries. In most trusts, it is common for a clause to have been included in its language that states that anyone who unsuccessfully contests its terms will forfeit their share of the proceeds or be penalized in some other way.
In order to dispute a trust, you must have “grounds” for the dispute, which would consist of some type of improper behavior or procedure connected with its creation. Common grounds for trust disputes can include:
- Incompetence on the part of the trust creator (called the grantor or trustor), such as the person suffered from dementia, Alzheimer’s or some other incapacity that meant insufficient mental ability at the time he or she wrote its terms.
- Undue influence placed on the trust creator; this is commonly refers to pressure applied to the trustor from some other party. This is generally a party seeking to obtain financial gain by being named in the trust as a beneficiary.
- Some type of fraud involved in the making of the trust.
- Defects in the trust document that would make it invalid according to Texas law; this could include that it was not signed in the presence of witnesses or was not actually signed by the trustor (forged).
- Discrepancies or conflicts concerning the accounting of a trust’s income, assets, liabilities and how they have been distributed. If you suspect mismanagement, self-dealing, excessively high fees paid to the trustee, or other issues, you can dispute the trustee’s actions or have the trustee replaced.
Get the Legal Help You Need with Matters Involving a Texas Trust
At Keith Morris Attorney at Law, we have been dealing with legal issues involving trusts and wills for decades. We provide aggressive oversight and litigation skills to all trust matters, starting with a detailed assessment of where you stand and the options that can be used to remedy the situation. Our firm is dedicated to the highest levels of service, as evidenced by the many honors and accolades we have received over the years, including an AV Preeminent® rating by Martindale Hubbell® and listing in Super Lawyers. Let us use our extensive knowledge and legal skills to protect your rights and best interests and to help you achieve your legal objectives.
Multi-Million Dollar Trust Dispute Won Summary Judgment
Won summary judgment for prominent South Texas family in multi-million-dollar trust dispute over real property.
Estate Administration Case Dispute Resolved
Successfully resolved case between two siblings fighting over cash and personal property of their father.
Guardianship Case Case Won
Won trial to exclude wife to serve as guardian of gentleman she married that was at least twice her age.
Probate Case Successful Verdict
Obtained verdict for daughter that reunited with her father after being estranged and offered will for probate but was contested by her sister.
Multi-Million Dollar Estate Case Six-Figure Settlement Reached
Obtained six-figure settlement after jury was seated for adopted child in multi-million dollar estate case after adoption was disputed.
Evidentiary Hearing Hearing Won
Won lengthy evidentiary hearing to prove client was not in contempt of court to avoid sanction or jail time.
Multi-Million Dollar International Estate Settlement Reached
Successfully negotiated settlement between surviving spouse and foreign advisers in multi-million dollar international estate.
Estate Administration & Division of Assets Dispute Resolved
Resolved highly contentious ongoing dispute over father’s estate and division of assets between son and daughter.
If you call Keith Morris, he will personally pick up the phone and handle your case with the attention it deserves.
Your first free case evaluation with us can be done through video conference, phone call, or an in-person meeting.
Keith Morris is proud to be the litigator that takes on the most complicated and difficult cases to court and getting his clients optimal results.
With over 20 years of legal experience, Keith Morris has devoted his efforts to sharpening his skills in probate, trust, and estate planning and litigation.