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What can go wrong with a living trust?

As has been reported on this blog in the past, there are many people in Minnesota and elsewhere who may try to sell residents, particularly senior citizens, a revocable living trust, claiming that the device will "avoid probate" and implying that it is a sure-fire way to avoid probate litigation.

While this law firm helps people resolve trust disputes, it is worth repeating that trust disputes can arise even when a living trust is well-drafted. These trust disputes can be just as time-consuming and costly as a will contest or other probate issue.

For example, according to the Minnesota Attorney General, a person who creates a living trust on behalf of his or her children or other loved ones must be extremely careful in doing so. This is because if that person names himself or herself as trustee over the trust, he or she's control over the assets in the trust are still limited by his or her fiduciary duty.

This means that despite the nature of the relationship outside the trust, the trustee must manage the trust for the good of those who will ultimately benefit from it. Without the proper care, this means that a person who was supposed to benefit from the trust will have a good cause of action should the trustee mismanage the trust property or otherwise break his or her fiduciary duty, even if the trustee happens to be the plaintiff's own mother or father.

While people do need to be careful when naming themselves the trustee of their own family living trust, this is not to say that such trusts are never beneficial. When a living trust is the best option, a Minnesota resident should know his or her rights and obligations. In those unfortunate situations in which a trust dispute emerges, the help of an experienced Minnesota estate and probate litigation attorney could prove invaluable.

Source: The Official Website of the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, accessed Oct. 14, 2014

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Mason & Helmers
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