The Statute of Limitations for Contesting Trusts

By Beverly Bird

Living trusts can go a long way toward eliminating the hassles involved with settling your estate. If you create one, the assets you place within it escape probate and pass directly to your beneficiaries. Just as with wills, however, a trust is vulnerable to being contested by unhappy beneficiaries. A trust is more difficult to challenge than a will, but beneficiaries do have a limited period of time within which to act.

Living trusts can go a long way toward eliminating the hassles involved with settling your estate. If you create one, the assets you place within it escape probate and pass directly to your beneficiaries. Just as with wills, however, a trust is vulnerable to being contested by unhappy beneficiaries. A trust is more difficult to challenge than a will, but beneficiaries do have a limited period of time within which to act.

Notice to Beneficiaries

Although the exact rules depend on individual state laws, it's generally required that your trustee must issue written notice to your beneficiaries when he's about to settle the trust. Statutes of limitations for contesting your trust typically begin with receipt of this notice. For example, in California, your trustee has 60 days within which to send the notice, and the clock for contesting the trust begins ticking with this event. In Colorado, the starting point is either the date your beneficiaries receive notice, or, if the trustee does not send notice, your date of death.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Statutes of Limitation

The amount of time your beneficiaries have to contest your trust is typically pretty short. In Colorado, they have three years if your date of death is used as the starting point, but this presumes that your trustee neglected to send them notice in the months after your death. If he had done so, your beneficiaries would be limited to 120 days after receiving it. They have either three years from your date of death or four months after receiving notice, whichever occurs first. The statute of limitations can extend up to four years in California if your trustee fails to issue notice to beneficiaries, but otherwise, they have only 120 days in this state as well.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Does a Trustee Have to Give a Beneficiary a Copy of the Trust?

References

Related articles

How to Get Rid of a Trust

Trusts can be great estate-planning tools -- at least until you want to undo one. When this occurs, you must usually deal with a lot of tedious paperwork or require special permission from the court. In some cases, you must do both. It depends on what type of trust you chose to create and the laws in your particular state. Some jurisdictions are more restrictive than others.

Trust Account Laws for the Beneficiary's Rights in California

California law imposes a number of requirements for creating and handling a living trust. A living trust allows a person to transfer property to an intangible entity for the benefit of one or more persons. The person in charge of distributing the trust property is called the trustee. The trustee is responsible to the trust beneficiaries regarding the trust, and must comply with California’s rules when dealing with the trust. Included in this set of rules is the duty to provide the trust beneficiaries with an accounting.

Can the Powers of the Successor Trustee Be Revoked?

A successor trustee is a trustee who takes over management of a trust after the original trustee leaves office. He may be a party named in the trust deed, consented to by the trust grantor or beneficiaries, or appointed by a court. State laws provide several ways in which a successor trustee's powers can be revoked and the trustee removed from the position.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Living Trust Statutes in South Carolina

The process of distributing your assets to your beneficiaries, called probate, can be an expensive hassle for those you ...

What Happens When a Revocable Trust Ceases?

Revocable trusts are often used as estate planning tools. Unlike wills, the administration of trusts after death can ...

Arizona Beneficiary Notification Law

Under Arizona law, beneficiaries, sometimes referred to as heirs, must be notified as to nearly every transaction ...

What Constitutes a Legal Living Trust?

A living trust can be designed to serve almost any purpose, but it must meet certain legal requirements that can vary a ...

Browse by category