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Does a Will or Trust Ever Become Invalid?

Estate planning is vital to preparing for the unexpected by drawing up a will or creating a trust. While a trust is a secure way to hold your funds and avoid probate, some circumstances would render the trust invalid. Set up a trust with specific instructions, and choose your trustee carefully to ensure that the trust will outlast some of these circumstances.

When you work with a lawyer, you can make your trust or will official and protected. Instead of having a family member as the trustee, a corporate employee may be a better option to provide the most security.

When Does a Trust or Will Become Invalid?

Estate planning is a valuable tool to take care of your assets if something happens to you unexpectedly. While you can find solace in knowing that your money is distributed according to your desires, health, influence, and emotions can still get in the way.

Take a look at some circumstances to be aware of:

Undue Influence

The person in charge of the trust or will may be contacted by a beneficiary or loved one. They use intimidation, coercion, or physical threat to convince the executor or trustee to change something in the estate plan that will benefit them.

Elder abuse shines a light on undue influence. For example, a caretaker may leverage medical care or rides to doctor’s appointments in exchange for changing the terms of the will. This person could be a family member or a nursing home employee. Fortunately, more conversations around elder abuse and mandatory reporting have cracked down on this form of undue influence.

If someone coerces the testator to change terms in the will or trust, the document is found to be invalid.

Lack of Capacity

Another way that a will or trust can be deemed invalid is if the testator is not of a sound mind at the time to execute the will or trust. For example, if the person has dementia, a brain injury, or other illness, they are not in the state to understand the will and the instructions associated with it.

Many courts leave it up to family members to contest the will and point to a lack of capacity before taking action to determine if the testator is qualified. The court will decide to invalidate the will or trust after investigating the health of the person in charge.

Contact Miles & Hatcher, LLP to learn more about writing up your trust. You can include instructions on distributing the funds to eligible beneficiaries. Any exceptions will be honored by the trustee or executor. Contact us for a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.

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