What is the Statute of Limitations for Challenging a Trust Created By Undue Influence in Florida?
For many people, a trust is an effective, efficient estate planning tool. When everything goes right, a trust can avoid the probate process and assets can be distributed to the beneficiary without issue. Of course, there are some exceptions. For example, what happens if you find out that your vulnerable loved one was improperly or fraudulent pressured into creating a trust?
The answer is that you can file a lawsuit contesting the trust on the grounds of undue influence. Though, you must do it before the statute of limitations expires. Failure to act in time could result in your claim being time barred. Here, our Tampa estate planning attorneys explain what you need to know about the statute of limitations for contesting a trust in Florida.
General Rule: Four-Year Statute of Limitations for Undue Influence/Fraud
Determining how long you have to contest a trust can be confusing. It depends on a number of different factors, including the underlying basis for your legal claim. That being said, in Florida, a claim for undue influence is typically made under Florida’s fraud statute (Florida Statutes § 95.11). In these cases, a four year statute of limitations typically applies.
Key Question: When Does the Statute of Limitations Clock Start?
Even if you know that your trust lawsuit is subject to a four-year statute of limitations, you still need to determine when exactly that clock started running. In many cases, this is a complicated issue. Most courts agree that the statute of limitations clock an undue influence case begins to run on the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known about the fraud.
As an example, imagine that a third party convinced your elderly, vulnerable parent to create a trust that they simply were not in a position to understand. This was done entirely without your knowledge. In general, Florida courts will determine that you still have the right to bring an undue influence claim, even if the trust was formed more than four years ago, assuming that you did not know and could not have reasonably known about its existence or the undue influence.
Take Immediate Action to Protect Your Rights
You do not want to lose out on your right to bring a legal challenge simply because you waited too long to take action. If you believe that your elderly parent or vulnerable relative set up a trust after being unduly influenced by another party, it is imperative that you call an experienced trust litigation attorney right away. Your lawyer will review your case and help you take action before the statute of limitations expires.
Discuss Your Case With Our Tampa Trust Contest Lawyers Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida estate planning attorneys are experienced, effective advocates for our clients. If you have any questions about contesting a trust, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for immediate assistance. From our office in Tampa, we represent individuals and families all over Hillsborough County, including in Brandon, Odessa, Oldsmar, Ruskin, Plant City, and Valrico.