Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
There is no way to tell for sure what the recourse would be without a complete evaluation of the trust paperwork.
However, if the mother made changes to a trust that was a joint trust and did not get the father's permission to do so then the chances are 90%+ that any changes which were made were invalid.
In addition, the father was the only one who could make changes to a codicil to his will, the mother could not do that so that could definitely be changed.
The original trust was a joint trust, and when my mother made the changes, my father was completely demented with Alzheimer's, could not have know what he was signing, even if he had signed. Furthermore, when I asked my brother who is now the successor trustee about the trust, his answer was that he was not at liberty to tell me anything about it. My follow up question to you: Can we proceed and get and injunction to stop all proceedings on the trust until we get this things straightened out? My mother just passed away about 10 days ago, so it is still early I think.
You can seek an injunction to preserve the things the way they are now while the court sorts through everything.
You can ask the court to look at the documents and see if it can reverse the changes.
Good. I appreciate that. I realize you have not seen the trust. However, assuming it was a joint trust originally, how would you proceed immediately?
Hire a local lawyer that does probate work and let them get to work.
They will file the appropriate papers.
Ok. Thank you. That was the way I was going to go. Being so far away, it just seems more daunting a task.
I understand but the lawyer will be able to handle most everything without you being there.
Yes. Good. Thank you.
You're very welcome and best wishes to you and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.
If they have done something illegal, will they have to pay our legal fees?
Likely so. It isn't automatic but judges usually award attorney's fees in cases like this.
Look I don't want them to go to jail. This isn't something they would likely go to jail for is it? I mean my brother and sister who were involved? They were also my father's guardians.
No, this isn't the kind of thing they usually go to jail for.
Okay. Hey thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I'll leave good feed back. I appreciate your help, and I would say you're making some good money on here. haha.
Fair. It comes and goes.
Well, you have a really great day and week.
I do appreciate the thought and I wish you the same.