Trusts are a legal relationship where property is held by one person to benefit another. There are three classes of people to understand in the world of trusts.
The settlor creates the trust by placing property into it. The trustee oversees the trust, holding, maintaining, and hopefully improving the trust’s property. The beneficiary, or beneficiaries, is the person that benefits from the trust. The trustee, at intervals described by the trust document itself, distributes the income, or the actual holdings, of the trust to the beneficiaries.
Settlors create trusts for several reasons. Mostly, they do so to avoid the costs, and possible legal challenges, of the probate of their will. Trusts also give the settlor great control over how their property is distributed, in terms of both the amount distributed and the individuals that receive it.
As simple as trusts may seem, they can be far from easy to administer. Beneficiaries often want more than the trustee can give them. Through no fault of the trustee, trust resources can dwindle, either because of outside forces or because of the design of the trust itself. Thus, in some circumstances, an instrument designed to make life easier for everyone has simply added complications.
Attorney Rob Cohen has decades of experience in civil practice in Northern Illinois. He understands that, in some circumstances, trustees need help solving trust disputes without exhausting too much money. After all, in most cases, the trust will also pay the costs the trustee incurs in administrating it.
If you face a trust dispute in Northern Illinois, do not hesitate to contact him today for a free consultation.
Where Can Trust Disputes Arise?
Disputes over trusts come in all shapes and sizes. Some disputes center on the actions of the settlor, including whether they had the capacity to create the trust or were unduly influenced in its creation.
The most common disputes, however, are over the management of the trust by the trustee.
These can include allegations that they have acted in their self-interest rather than the interest of the beneficiaries, that they failed to prudently invest the trust property, or disregarded trust instructions regarding distributions.
What many beneficiaries fail to recognize, however, is that trustees must do what is best for the trust and beneficiaries as a whole, rather than as individuals. Many of the disputes above really boil down to allegations that the beneficiary has not gotten what they wanted or expected.
There are many reasons that this may occur, but a common one is that the trust simply does not have the resources to pay the beneficiaries what they want while still preserving the trust principal itself. In these cases, it may be best to wind down the trust and distribute its assets.
How Can an Attorney Help?
The above are just some examples of when a dispute over a trust can arise. An experienced attorney can do several things in response to a trust dispute. They can meet with the beneficiaries and their attorneys to try to iron out their grievances. They can represent the trustee in court hearings if the beneficiaries insist on bringing a claim against the trust or trustee. If the trust has come to a point where administering it is more costly than beneficial to its value, then an attorney can help a trustee end the trust and distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries.
Attorney Rob Cohen prides himself in his ability to resolve disputes well before trial. If you face a trust dispute in Northern Illinois, contact him today for a free consultation.