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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 mother died April 13th, 2013 in Yuma, AZ and I am the successor

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My mother died April 13th, 2013 in Yuma, AZ and I am the successor to her trust. I live in Toledo, OH. She owned a vehicle that was not included in the trust. The Arizona title has her name on it along with (and/or) my brother's name on it who is also deceased (May of 2012). She never had his name removed from it. I would like to have the vehicle put in another brother's name who has possession of it and lives in Arizona so he can sell it. What steps do I need to take in order to accomplish this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Did your mother have a will or just the trust?
Were all of her other assets titled in the trust?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, she had a will and I am the Executor as well as the successor of the trust. Everything else is in the trust. The auto is listed in the trust but is crossed off by her. I think she intended the vehicle to go to my brother listed on the title in the event of her death. However he died before her and she did not have it placed back into the trust.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I am very sorry for your loss as I know how difficult it is to lose parent.The will is separate from the trust and would have to be administered in the probate court in AZ. I'm not certain from your facts who is the named beneficiary of the will but if it leaves the car to your brother and the car is the only asset then this probably can be handled as a small estate. Obviously if you are in Ohio it may be more expensive to do all of this than the car is worth since the only way to transfer a titled asset from an estate is to have a court appointed legal representative such as an executor or administrator sign the title. If your brother is in AZ he could do this and you could waive your rights as executor and if the will leaves the car to you and your brother you can always waive your rights to the inheritance. In any event, this is going to have to be done in the AZ probate court since Ohio has no jurisdiction over the estate or the AZ title. The first step will be to apply at the probate court in the county where your Mom resided at the time of her death to become the executor of her estate. Once appointed you or your brother would have the power to sign the title over to your brother. If there are any debts they would have to be paid first so if there are no other assets and there are any debts it is likely the car would have to be sold to pay the debts. Ultimately this is going to depend on the value of the car and how much expense there will be to get all of this accomplished. That, of course, is a decision only you and your brother can make.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I'm not sure I understand everything you wrote or if you understand me. I am already the executor and only I am the beneficiary of the will and the only successor of the trust. (To distribute to named beneficiaries after the estate has been settled) There are properties and other assets in the trust but the trust really has nothing to do with this since the auto was not in it. The will is included in the trust documents. Article I of the will states that she gives the entire residue of the estate to the trustee (of which I am successor) and it directs that the residue of her estate be added to, administered, and distributed as part of the trust, according to the terms of the trust, etc. To the extent permitted by law, it is not my intent to create a separate trust by this will or to subject the trust or property added to it by this will to the jurisdiction of the probate court. Wouldn't the residue of the estate include the automobile? Shouldn't it just directly go to me as per her will, regardless of the trust? The value of the auto is between $5-7500.00. The title lists her name AND/OR my deceased brothers name. Since he is no longer with us and it was listed as such on the title, when he died it returns to her as the only owner, am I right? Or does his surviving children have any claim to it? Sorry to be such a pain, this is a complex case, but I do not wish to have to return to AZ unless absolutely necessary. Is there a way to do this without having to go to AZ probate court from Ohio? The trust says I can appoint whomever on my behalf or delegate a co-trustee all or any of my powers during absences from the state of AZ by written notice. Does this mean I can give my brother the authority to do what I want regarding the auto even though the auto was not in the trust?
Thank you for your time.
I will try to explain as best I can but please remember that this is a very complicated area of law so if you have further questions please continue to ask. When you are named as an executor in a will it does not mean you are actually the executor since you must be appointed by the probate court. so if you have been appointed by the AZ court then you are the executor and you have the power to sell or transfer the car. If you have not been appointed by the court you have no legal authority as executor. The trust is a separate document and whatever is already in the name of the trust belongs to the trust and is not part of the estate. Anything that is not already in the trust must be transferred from the estate to the trust by the executor and this cannot be done until the will is filed with the court and the executor is appointed. In order to be appointed you must apply to the court in AZ. The car will be part of the residual estate unless it is specifically mentioned in the will as a specific bequest. If everything goes to you then you will have to be the one to transfer the property out of your name to your brother if you wish to do so. In any event, you must be appointed by the court to be the executor before you have the powers of executor. You would have to review all of the assets that are titled such as the car, real estate or bank accounts to see exactly whose name is XXXXX XXXXX the owner. Anything in the trust is already there and does not need to be included in the estate but anything that is still in your Mom's name will have to go through probate and be transferred to the trust or to the beneficiary of the will.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Okay, but you didn't answer if this could be done from Ohio or do I need to go in person to AZ? Also, about the title having my brother's name on it and it stating my mother's name and/or my brothers name both on the title. What exactly does and/or mean, specifically since my brother's death preceded my mother's? Did they both have equal ownership of the vehicle or not? And what happens when one of them died before the other? I know that my brother did not have a will. But I need to know if his children have any claim under their rights of survivorship.
You can do it from Ohio by mail but you may need to have a probate lawyer in AZ to handle any required court appearances. If your brother's name is XXXXX XXXXX title then his share would have passed through his estate to his children and they would essentially own half of the vehicle. If his name is XXXXX XXXXX the title he would have had no interest in the car since he predeceased your Mom and the vehicle would pass according to her will and you said you were the only beneficiary. The court forms can be filed by mail from Ohio but at some point there will likely be a need for either you or an attorney representing the estate to appear in the AZ court. Dude to the expense of travel it may be less expensive to obtain local counsel rather than pay the cost of travel.
David Kennett and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your time Mr. Kennett, I really appreciate all of your help.
No problem Tracey and best of luck to you. Thanks for using our service - Dave

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