Posted: Wednesday, 4 April 2018 @ 14:49
If you are involved in a trust dispute be that a trustee or a beneficiary what are the best ways to try to sort things out while at the same time protecting your legal position.
Here are some thoughts which may help.
Manage Your Emotions - As a lawyer who has dealt with a variety of disputes in many legal fields I can say that trust disputes are amongst the most emotional and stressful that people get involved in. This leads often to trouble and people saying or doing things which either they or their lawyers will regret. It does not mean that you should stop talking to the other side but careful management of emotions is often critical in securing good outcomes.
Check the Trust Document - If you are considering taking legal advice(and if you are reading this post the chances you are) it is critical to obtain all relevant documents and the most critical one is the trust document be that a will of the deceased or something else. Once you have this and identified what your complaint is/your issue is then you are in a. better position to move forwards.
Assess The Law - Some people are understandably intimidated by instructing solicitors particularly in the area of trusts. Beyond all the legal jargon it is worth knowing that the obligations of the trustee are simple namely - To exercise reasonable care and skill, to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries as a whole and to obey the terms of the trust. The extent of the way the trustee is seen to comply with these three obligations is pivotal in determining legal compliance or not.
Use Informal Methods To Settle - Many lawyers will often try to dissuade their clients from trying too settle things directly but a confident and experienced lawyer will always keep his or her eyes open for any opportunities to settle. These opportunities can manifest at an early stage and can simply involve a telephone call or word with a mutual contact but must be done carefully. Otherwise you are looking at using a more formal way to settle such as mediation.
Have An End Game - The most important variable is try to deal with the worst case scenario and be aware of what can happen if the dispute is to continue. This discussion with your lawyer involves explaining the likely legal path of the case and how to resolve it on the best footing for yourself. A good lawyer will discuss this you and ensure that the paper trail is in your favour and that pressure is being applied to the other side which forces them to act in a way that protects you. And legal costs are managed.