Administering a trust without conflict is rare. The good news is that many conflicts among fiduciaries and beneficiaries, between co-fiduciaries or among beneficiaries, can be resolved quickly and easily. Unfortunately, sometimes the disputes can be serious, driving parties to litigation and destroying relationships.
It should go without saying that unambiguous language is the first step to reducing the potential for conflict. Whether beneficiaries are content with the settlor’s decisions or not, well-constructed language clearly setting out the terms of the trust is less likely to cause disparate interpretations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, amorphous language simply stating that assets are to be held “in trust” without stating how the trust is to be administered is, at the very least, begging for a construction proceeding.
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