first, i really appreciate you looking at this trust. did you perceive that there is a lot of vagueness in the document. for example, it says that the lake home is to be equitably used. my thought has been what does that mean.
A: It means fair and balanced, i.e., equal.
the traditional recreational time period for this resort lake is memorial day thru labor day. but, what prevents the trustees (my 2 older brothers) from saying to me "you can't use the lake home during the summer but, you can use it any time from october thru april". so, can i ask the probate judge to "amend" the trust document to be more specific.
A: No. You can sue the trustees for what you believe to be a breach of fiduciary, by their restricting your use to that which is not equitable. The court can order that you may use the property during summer, or it could remove the trustees entirely. But, it cannot amend the trust, because the terms and conditions are clear enough to permit an equitable resolution.
i haven't read any where in the document that specifically states what is to be done with my parents personal property or domicile after they are both dead. did you.
A: It appears to me that the property is to be distributed equally among the children, or grandchildren at the termination of the trust.
as you interpreted; the trust eventually leaves the bulk (highest value) of my parents assets to current grandchildren.
A: The trust leaves the property to the grandchildren, unless the trustees decide to terminate the trust early. So, it is quite possible for the grandchildren to receive nothing -- except through their respective parents -- dependent upon the trustees' determinations, prior to their death.
that is absolutely not what my mom wanted. she told the trust attorney that verbally and in writing and he refused to change her trust. contrarily in march of 2007, in a letter to my parents and cc to myself and brothers that the trust was not fair to myself and my older brother since we did not have children nor, spouses; and, that the trust as it stands will cause family dissension which it has. why would he have composed a trust initially if he knew these future outcomes.
A: I must respectfully disagree. The trust states what your mom absolutely wanted -- and if she wanted something else, then she could have amended the trust. She did not, therefore the trust provisions control -- not her writings or oral instructions to her attorney. The reason why this is the law, is so that disputes such as you describe cannot occur. Everyone is on notice that if they want a specific result to occur after their death, then need to make that result unambiguously clear by following the law to provide for the distribution of their estate. You will lose this particular argument, if you bring it to a court.
as you can probably imagine i have many questions and it wouldn't be fair to address them all to you. my problem has been i just haven't been able to find an attorney who will or can answer most of my questions. that's why iv'e been pushing for a hearing and trying to get a probate judges interpretation. is that something a probate judge would do.
A: This is not a probate matter. It's a trust dispute. A trust is a contract, subject to dispute resolution using contract law interpretation. If you want to challenge the trustees acts or omissions, or the trust provisions, then you must sue the trustees for breach of trust and or fiduciary. A probate judge has no jurisdiction to simply order a hearing to rule on the trust provisions.
Hope this helps.