Do I have a legitimate argument to contest a Trust that was changed under duress?

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Do I have a legitimate argument to contest a Trust that was changed under duress?

My mother recently passed away. However, 8 years before her passing, she established a living Trust that divided all her assets among her children. I am 1 of 3 children and the executor of the estate. When she became ill 5 years ago, 1 of my siblings took her in because she lived closest to my mother’s medical facility. Shortly before her death, I discovered that the sibling providing care had my mother change the living Trust leaving my sister over 75% of the assets. I spoke to my mother about this and she said that my sister insisted that she change the Will and led her to believe she would “put her out” if she didn’t change the Trust. I taped my mother disclosing these facts.

Asked on August 16, 2014 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a trust which was formed or changed due to unreasonable pressure by someone in a position to exert such pressure (e.g. caregiver) can be challenged as having been the product of "undue influence"; if a court agrees (you'd have to bring  a legal action to mount this challenge), it may set aside the changes, which should have the effect of restoring the former trust. It would worthwhile for you to consult with a trusts and estates attorney in detail about the situation.


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