If you suspect your rights have been violated as a beneficiary in a Will or Trust in Florida, then you should contact an Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney as soon as possible.
Doing so will provide you with the legal expertise to file a petition that could protect your family’s assets, rights and future.
Alternatively, if you are facing allegations and claims as a Trustee, it is crucial that you contact a lawyer to help prove that your decisions were justified.
As a beneficiary, you are eligible to receive distributions and benefits from a Will or Trust. But your rights go beyond receiving payments.
In Florida, you’re owed various protections and duties from personal representatives and Trustees – from knowing where the money is, to what it’s being spent on and by who. Your best interests must also be adhered to at all times.
If your beneficiary rights have been violated, or you suspect any of the following violations, you should contact an Estate, Trust and Trustee Litigation attorney as soon as possible.
- Failure to comply with a Trust’s terms
- Breakdown of communications
- Mismanagement of a Trust’s asset
- Denied, delayed or incorrect accounting.
When an individual passes away in Florida, the law and courts distribute their estate by following their wishes in the will.
However, if you are a beneficiary or ‘interested person’ in the will you may be able to challenge these plans in court through a ‘Will Contest’.
In Florida, there is a very strict deadline to do so – 90 days after the notice of administration has been filed. It is therefore advised that you contact an Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney as soon as possible so you can file a petition and protect your rights.
Reasons that allow for a Will Contest include:
- Undue Influence
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity (Not having a sound mind)
- Execution Formality Breaches
As a beneficiary of a Trust, you rely on the Trustees’ responsibility to act in your best interests and uphold their duties. You have the right to this under Florida’s Trust laws.
If you feel their duties have been breached, or you’ve been unfairly treated, given an unfair share of assets or completely cut out of the Trust, then you may be able to make a Trust contest to seek changes or invalidation of the Trust.
To do so, you’ll require the expertise of an Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be handled in regular civil courts or through mutual agreements outside court. There may also be alternative routes to protect your inheritance rights, which is why you should contact a Trust litigation attorney for their legal counsel.
Common reasons for Contesting a Trust in Florida include claiming that the Trust was created with:
- Undue Influence
- Lack of Capacity
- Mistake in Execution
- Or misinterpreted Trust language and wording.
Trust litigation can also include working for the removal of a Trustee if they have breached their fiduciary duties or acted irresponsibly.
To do this in Florida, a beneficiary, Co-Trustee or Trust creator must file a lawsuit petitioning for the Trustee’s removal. There must also be a strong reason and significant evidence. If this can be provided, the court will then decide if any Florida Statute 746.0706 criteria have been met.
It is critical that you hire an Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney as evidence must be provided in testimonies and documents. Acquiring this may need depositions, interrogations, subpoenaed documents and interviews that comply with the Rules of Evidence.
Common reasons that warrant a Trustee Removal include:
- Failure to comply with a Trust’s terms
- A breakdown of communications with beneficiaries
- Mismanagement of Trust assets
Trust Accounting Disputes
One of the primary rights you have as a Trust beneficiary is the notice of and provision of Trust accounting information from the Trustee. From asset sales to expenses and investments, you deserve to know what’s going on.
Failure to provide this on time and correctly may be a breach of the Trustee’s fiduciary duties and potentially a sign of deeper Trustee violations.
As a beneficiary, you also have the right to make a Trust Accounting dispute by filing a lawsuit.
An Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney will decide the best route of action, sniff out the accounting problems and potentially unravel deeper issues.
There are various potential outcomes, including a Trustee removal or a personal surcharge against the Trustee. However, the Trustee also has the right to defense if they can prove their actions were justified.
With age comes vulnerability to being taken advantage of financially. Elder Abuse has occurred if anyone in a position of support for a senior’s financial matters exploits them for their own or someone else’s benefit.
Here in Florida, we have strict laws against Elder Abuse. Any incident of Elder Abuse may result in severe penalties.
An Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney can help put an end to this, protect the victim’s finances and assets and hold the abusers accountable. There are various routes of legal action to take depending on the scenario, which can be discussed with an Elder Abuse attorney.
Common examples of Elder Abuse include:
- Exploiting an elderly person’s trust and confidence.
- Intimidating or knowingly deceiving the elderly person.
- Using the elderly person’s funds, assets or property for their own benefit.
- Depriving the elderly person of the use or possession of assets, funds or property.
- Willfully acting or threatening the elderly person.
If you face accusations of fraud, fiduciary duty violations or Trust mishandling, you should contact an Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation as soon as possible. These are serious accusations that could result in severe penalties.
Even if you believe you have acted responsibly, beneficiaries may make a misunderstanding or be feeling unfairly treated without reason.
As a Trustee, you have the right to legal defense in the face of these claims. A Trustee defense attorney will focus on resolving the dispute outside the court to avoid the costly expenses of litigation.
However, if required, they will ensure your rights are protected and will fight to justify your actions.
Common Florida Trustee defenses include:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Failing to follow the terms of the trust
- Failing to account properly
- Lack of communication
- Mishandling trust funds
Contact a Florida Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation Attorney
If you need legal counsel and wish to file a lawsuit petitioning against any violation of your inheritance rights, then you should contact a Florida Estate, Trust & Trustee Litigation attorney as soon as possible.
This could be the difference between a quick and tidy resolution outside a court and an expensive, uncertain litigation battle. While if we do need to go to the courts, you will have the backing of a powerful team of experts.
Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is a U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced attorneys, they give you the best chance of getting the resolution you hope for.
Schedule a free consultation today to get started or to get any questions answered.