If the terms of a trust are disputed, the matter may need to be resolved through a legal process. Depending on the nature and scope of the dispute, there are several options available for resolving trust disputes:
- Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party works with the parties involved in the dispute to try to reach a mutually acceptable solution. Mediation can be less expensive and less adversarial than going to court and can often help preserve relationships between the parties.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is a more formal process in which a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears evidence and makes a decision on the dispute. The decision of the arbitrator is typically binding on the parties involved.
- Litigation: If mediation or arbitration is not successful, the dispute may need to be resolved through litigation. This involves filing a lawsuit in court and having a judge or jury make a decision on the dispute.
In addition to these options, it may also be possible to modify the terms of the trust through a trust amendment or by seeking court approval for a modification. This can be particularly useful if the trust was created many years ago and the terms are no longer appropriate or if circumstances have changed that were not anticipated at the time the trust was created.
It’s important to work with an experienced trust and estate planning attorney if you are involved in a trust dispute to ensure that your rights are protected and that the matter is resolved in the most effective and efficient way possible.
To discuss your estate planning or probate administration needs with an experienced attorney, contact us at (973) 383-2700 for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.