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Contesting Validity of Revocable Trust: Time limitation

Like with Limitation Periods for Breach of Trust, the overhaul of the Missouri Uniform Trust Code also shed light on the precise limitations period in which a person may commence a judicial proceeding to contest the validity of a trust that was revocable at the settlor’s/trust-maker’s death.

Generally, under Section 456.6-604, a person must commence a petition to set aside such a trust within the earliest of (1) two years after the settlor’s death or (2) six (6) months after the trustee sends the contestant a copy of the trust and a notice informing the person of the trust’s existence, of the trustee’s name and address, and of the time allowed for commencing a proceeding. Whether the trust is entitled to a distribution under the settlor’s will may also affect the time for filing such a contest.

On the other hand, can you contest a revocable trust before the Settlor’s death? While there does not appear to be a case in Missouri at the time of this writing addressing the issue, Missouri statutes suggest that you can using equitable theories. See Section 456.1-106, RSMo (“the common law of trust and principles of equity supplement [the Uniform Trust Code]”); see also Section 604 of the Uniform Trust Code (“Nor does this section preclude an action to determine the validity of a trust that is brought during the settlor’s lifetime, such as a petition for a declaratory judgment, if such action is authorized by other law”).

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