Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.Both are estate planning documents used to distribute an estate, though they work in conjunction with one another. The trust is managed by a trustee. A "Fourth and Fully Restated Trust" means that the trust itself (at least portions of it) were amended four times. It is far less costly to amend a trust then have a new one written. Once a trust is created, assets are titled in the name of the trust and "placed into it", so to speak. This is sometimes known as "funding the trust."The Will is what is known as a "pour over will" wherein the writer of the will directs that assets in the estate are to be distributed per the terms of the trust. In other words, if there are assets that never made it into the trust before the original grantor/trustee of the trust passed away, they will "pour over" into the trust and be administered however the trust directs.
Then the successor trustee could bring suit against them for return of those assets (or the financial equivalent). The trust has to be administered and the estate settled before final distribution can be made to ensure the debts and expenses of the decedent are paid.
Settling the estate is the process by which the successor trustee would administer the trust - take an inventory an accounting of the assets, gather information on what debts the decedent left, pay those debts from the estate assets, and the make distribution of what is left. The beneficiaries are not responsible for the final debts of the decedent, they are to be paid from the estate.If these credit cards were in the husband's name only, they should have been paid from the estate assets. If those assets were taken improperly, a court can order that they be paid back, yes. Keep in mind that not everything is considered a trust asset or part of the estate. For example, jointly titled property between spouses (such as a joint checking account) would pass automatically to the surviving spouse. Similarly, anything like life insurance or retirement accounts that have pay on death/transfer on death clauses is paid directly to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries.If the sons have concerns that the trust was not administered properly or things were not handled properly, it would be highly advisable for them to speak with a trust and estates attorney (many offer free or low cost consultations and there is never any obligation to hire someone).
They are not personally responsible, no. The estate is - it is paid from the assets of the trust/estate. Before assets can be distributed, debts of a decedent must be paid. That's not specific to Arizona -that is the process of settling an estate/trust in all states. Being named a beneficiary of a trust or will doesn't guarantee that a person will necessarily receive anything, unfortunately (and I have worked on a fair number of estates where debts exceeded assets.