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Can I Contest a Trust in Florida?


Trusts are an essential piece of many Floridian’s estate plans. It is easy to see why – a trust can be an important tool in helping beneficiaries to avoid the notoriously tricky Florida probate process and guardianship courts. While trusts can help to protect important assets, it is not without its rules and complications. This is why engaging with legal professionals is so pivotal to the ultimate success of a Trust.

One of the biggest issues that can arise is when someone wishes to contest a trust. And while, yes, a trust can sometimes be contested, certain criteria must be met in order for the suit to move forward or be successful. Continue reading to learn more about who can contest a trust, when, and the process involved in bringing the legal challenge.

Who Can Contest a Florida Trust?

A person or party can choose to pursue a contest to a trust – but only if that party has “standing.” In order to establish standing, you must be able to demonstrate to the court that you have a direct interest in the trust, a prior trust, the grantor, or the trustee.

The issue of standing is not unique to this area of the law. In order to bring a suit, such as a challenge to a will or trust, the person bringing the lawsuit must show that they have stakes in the issue, stakes in the decision. If anyone could bring a lawsuit pertaining to any issue, the courts would be absolutely overrun with suits being brought by innumerable parties on issues that had nothing to do with them. In order to maintain functionality of the courts, only those persons who are directly affected by the issue at stake can pursue the court’s help in adjudicating the issue. You will have to establish that you have standing in an issue before the court will consider the merits of your suit.

In a contest of a trust, the most common people or parties to have standing are family members of the grantor, and/or anyone who had been named as a beneficiary in a prior trust. An experienced attorney can help you to analyze the various aspects of your suit and help determine if you are likely to have the requisite standing to contest a trust.

The Process

If you are contesting a Florida trust, a smart first step is engaging with an experienced wills & probate attorney. These issues can be very complicated, and having experienced counsel in your corner can help save you time and avoid the potential of unseen legal issues down the road.

The actual will contest might be handled a number of different ways. For example, the parties might come to an agreement and settle outside of court via a non-judicial settlement agreement. Alternatively, if the parties cannot come to an agreement or refuse to negotiate, you can seek to have your claim adjudicated in court. In a court case, you and your attorney work together to provide the court with documentation and other evidence that supports your contest of the trust. After considering evidence from both sides, the court will rule on the claim. Depending on the court’s findings, court ordered changes to the trust might be ordered.

Contact Suncoast Civil Law

The experienced Sarasota wills & probate lawyers at Suncoast Civil Law understand what is necessary for a successful contest of a trust or last will and testament. There are certain time limitations on bringing will and trust contests – contact our team today to begin discussing the elements of your own case.


By submitting this form I acknowledge that contacting this law firm through this website does not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information I send is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

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