The ninth way a revocable living trust can enhance your estate plan is that unlike a will, it cannot be contested in probate court. As an estate planning attorney in Columbus, Ohio, I know the negative impact a will contest can have on a person’s estate and family relationships. When you die with a will and that will is submitted to the probate court, it is very possible that the validity of some or all of the will may be challenged by one of your heirs or distributees. The person challenging the will tries to demonstrate that perhaps you were not competent to execute the will, or that you were tricked or unduly influenced to signing a will you did not mean to sign.
Many will contests are unsuccessful. However, they delay the distribution of your estate and often upset members of the family. You may have built incredibly strong family relationships during your lifetime. But when a will contest results in your heirs settling a will contest and give up part of their inheritances in an attempt to save on lengthy litigation fees, the relationship between heirs may be forever damaged.
By contrast, a challenging a revocable living trust is not an easy task. The party contesting the revocable living trust typically must prove that you were incompetent, confused or under duress not only at the initial execution of your trust, but also at each and every point where you made a significant decision regarding your trust. For example, this would include times when you made management or investment decisions related to trust assets, as well as times when you actually transferred assets into or out of the trust.
When someone contests your will, you estate is essentially put on pause while the dispute is resolved by the parties and the court. But a revocable living trust begins distributing your estate according to your wishes at your death. Your trustee will manage your assets according to your specific instructions during any litigation challenging the trust. As a result, your surviving spouse, children or other distributees can benefit from your trust right away. Also, trust litigation can be very complicated and comes with a big price tag for the person challenging the trust. Having this natural deterrent as part of your estate plan can help effectively carry out your wishes.
Crumpton Law LLC and its attorneys practice estate planning law in Columbus, Ohio, and throughout the surrounding counties and cities of Franklin County, Delaware County, Union County, Madison County, Pickaway County, Fairfield County, Licking County, Dublin, Powell, Lewis Center, Worthington, Westerville, New Albany, Gahanna, Bexley, Reynoldsburg, Canal Winchester, Grove City, Hilliard and Upper Arlington.