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David Kennett
David Kennett, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing attorney
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My 89 yr old father died 2 months ago and shortly after I get

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My 89 yr old father died 2 months ago and shortly after I get a letter from my Dad and stepmothers attorney saying my brother and I get no inheritance at this time.
The letter also says there is an amdentment to the trust. My father told us we get the house but stepmom can live there until she dies. She also told me the same thing after my father died. I feel she has removed us as beneficiaries. She told us through her attorney we can not have a copy of the trust. My father years ago asked for my social security number to put me in the trust. What can I do to get a copy of the trust?

Debbie
Dear JACUSTOMER - If an estate has been opened in the probate court then all information regarding the estate would be a matter of public record and you could easily check the records to see what is going on with the estate process. If there was no estate and everything had been transferred into the trust before your father's death then things get more complicated. You can check the real estate records in the county where the property is located to see how the deed is titled. If it is still in your father's name then it cannot be transferred unless the deed is either with survivorship or an estate is opened and the personal representative of the estate transfers the deed according to the will. In that case there would eventually have to be an estate opened. If your father placed all control in his wife's name and the trust is revocable and under her control then the attorney may be correct that you should try to keep a good relationship with her. The only alternative you have if there is no estate of public record would be to file a suit against your step mother for an accounting of the trust. Obviously you would be risking a possible inheritance if, in fact, she has complete control but if the trust is not revocable and she has done anything to harm your interest in the trust you could have her removed as trustee. Many times married persons will trust each other to do the right thing after their death such as protecting the children from a former marriage but if the surviving spouse decides not to abide by the verbal agreement and has the legal power to change a trust then they sometimes will do that and there is little the would be beneficiaries can do. So I would suggest that you start by checking the probate records and the real estate records before you file any lawsuits.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The property was in Ray and Beverly Edens trust. I checked yesterday and it is now in her name only. My Dad had a house he sold and owned it with my mother, she died and he remarried bought the house with "his" money, not hers. There is also a ring that was my grandfathers on my mothers side and she told me it is in the trust and my brother is not getting it. She also has all my family pictures. I can't replace them, picture of my mother, my kids, camping trips.........I really hates this woman!
I certainly can understand how you feel. Obviously I have no way of seeing the trust or reviewing what happened but the real estate records should show how the property was transferred from the trust to your step mother. That would be a place to start. Something tells me that this trust had no terms to protect you from your step mother but if you can show an illegal transfer of the real estate you may have a chance to get the transfer overturned. At the same time, through discovery, you may be able to obtain a copy of the trust. Based on your facts it doesn't sound like "being nice" will have any effect so you might as well take legal action against her to see if she has done something illegal with trust.
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