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Can You Challenge the Validity of a Trust in Florida?


One of the benefits of setting up a Trust is you can avoid probate or other lengthy Court proceedings. However, having a Trust doesn’t guarantee that your family members or other beneficiaries won’t seek to challenge it. Florida allows someone to challenge a Trust just as they would a Will. If there is evidence of fraud or undue influence, the Trust must be declared wholly or partially invalid. Contesting a trust can be a complicated process, which is why you need an experienced Pompano Beach breach of validity of trust attorney who can help.

What are the Requirements for a Trust to Be Valid in Florida?

For a Trust to be valid, certain legal formalities must be present. There are numerous types of trusts, and they can be created in a variety of ways. However, for any Trust to be valid in Florida, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Should be written — having a written Trust is the best way to prove its validity. An oral trust would need to show proof through “clear and convincing” evidence, which is a high standard.
  • Intent — there should be clear intent that the settlor, or the person making the Trust, intended to create one.
  • Capacity — The settlor must have the capacity, which means they must have mental competency and understand what they are doing and the potential consequences that a Trust has on their property or other assets.
  • Named beneficiaries — A Trust must include named beneficiaries that can be recognized now (i.e., specific names), or a class of beneficiaries (i.e., my grandchildren) that can be ascertainable in the future.
  • Purpose — Trusts must be set up for legitimate purposes only. It cannot go against Florida’s public policy, and it must be created to benefit its beneficiaries.
  • Duties of the Trustee — the Trust must include a named Trustee, and the settlor must have specified some responsibilities for them. Also, if there is only one beneficiary, the Trustee cannot be the sole Trustee and the sole beneficiary.

Challenging a Trust’s Validity

If the Trust is missing any of these elements, then someone may allege it’s not valid. If there are allegations of coercion, fraud, undue influence, duress, or a mistake, beneficiaries may challenge a trust’s validity as well.

How Much Time Do You Have to Challenge a Trust in Florida?

The deadline for challenging a Trust in Florida can be confusing. If you miss the statute of limitations, then there’s a good chance the Court will not hear your case. In general, the deadline to file can be as short as six months, or it could be as long as four years. That is why retaining a skilled Pompano Beach validity of trust lawyer is so crucial. You need someone who understands the deadline in your specific case.

Contact a Florida Trust Litigation Attorney

If you need assistance challenging the validity of a Trust in Florida, let our skilled legal team help. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. We have decades of experience handling trust litigation matters, including validity of trust cases. We can help you resolve any outstanding legal issues related to the Trust as quickly as possible.

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