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Competency questioned in trust case

Michigan residents have a lot of flexibility when it comes to their estate plans. By taking advantage of the many different estate planning tools available, people can make the most of their assets. This can include the use of many types of trusts.

However, people may need to revise their estate plans over time. People may feel that their assets would be best protected by using a different estate planning tool or under the direction of a different person. Typically, people have the right to change their estate plans as they see fit. However, certain conditions must be met. In particular, people must be of sound mind and capable of understanding their decisions when changes are made. People must also be free of undue influence from another when changes are made.

Recently, media mogul Sumner Redstone has been in court after making changes to his trusts and trust administration. In particular, his competency has been called into question after he removed two trustees from the trusts controlling the media powerhouses Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.

The former trustees of the trusts allege that Redstone is acting under the influence of his once estranged daughter. They also claim that the 93-year-old is suffering from physical ailments, including dementia, that make him incompetent to make these types of decisions. They want Redstone to be declared incompetent and want to be restored to their roles as trustees.

Redstone's lawyers, on the other hand, have moved to dismiss the case. They claim that he is of sound mind and is making clear business decisions. They cite a geriatric psychiatrist that has examined him.

Michigan residents should understand when they can make changes to the trusts they have created. By properly making changes, people can protect their assets and their future.

Source: 9&10 News, "Sumner Redstone seeks to dismiss lawsuit by Viacom CEO," June 20, 2016

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