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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33769
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My Grandfather passed away 4 years ago. I was told I would

Customer Question

My Grandfather passed away 4 years ago. I was told I would receive 1/4 of my inheritance from a trust fund when I turn 35. Now that I'm 35 they're saying the money is all gone. How can that be?
My father passed away a year previous to my grandfather. The estate was to be equally shared between myself and my aunt.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Was there actually a trust set up by Grandfather (GF) initially?

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If so who was the trustee of the trust?

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Were there other beneficiaries of the trust as well who had a higher claim to assets than you?

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Did the trustee send you written yearly accountings about the trust assets, expenses, and disbursements?

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Who is telling you that the money is gone and where did it go?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Will I have states my GF set up the trust 1 year before he passed away.
The will gives a trustee name I do not know who the person is.
The trust was to be equally dispersed between myself and my aunt.
The estate was to be divided equally between myself and my aunt.
I have no accounting of estate or trust.
My aunt and I do not know where the money went.Thank you
Linda
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just looked at the title page of the trust my aunt is Co-trustee.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is anyone there????
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Just a minute while I type a response.. I am normally working with several customers at once so there may be a delay in my responses..

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, you said "they are saying the money is gone".. Who is they?

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The trustees of the trust should be in charge of the assets in it, so if aunt is a co-trustee, how can she not know what is going on with the trust?

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Was the trust set up with other beneficiaries who got paid before you?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No other trustees. My aunt is saying the money is gone.
There were no other trustees beside my aunt & myself.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

To be honest with you, this isn't making much sense...

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You stated that " the will gives a trustee name I do not know who the person is"

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Then you say that aunt is a co-trustee which means that there are at least 2 trustees of the trust, aunt and someone else.

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So if aunt is saying the money is gone, then either she or the other trustee would have to have taken it because only they have the legal authority to access the trust accounts set up by GF.

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With that said, if either of them took the money illegally, then you can file a suit against them for theft, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty to hold them personally liable for the missing money. If it was in a bank, then there are records as to who took it out and that person would be liable both civilly and criminally.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I'll start by telling you who is listed on the title page of the "Declaration of Trust"My GF and my aunt listed as CO-TRUSTEEThe people listed who I do not know are beneficiaries if I die.The trust states the corpus of the trust must exceed $20,000. at the time each beneficiary obtains the terms provided. Otherwise, the corpus & net income shall be distributed in full and the trust shall terminate as to that respective beneficiary.My basic question is: How do I find out how much was in the initial Trust and where the corpus has gone?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have never been told the value.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Even if there is no money available, there are 300 acres of farm land, residential home that was sold 2 years ago for $85K, for which I've only received $5K. There are several oil royalty checks coming every month of which I have no idea for how much. I really don't know how to ask my aunt about these details. Her husband is a lawyer. So I'm afraid they have hidden details from me. Even though I have paid taxes of $4,800. on whatever is in the trust.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also my aunt's husband's law firm drew up the Trust.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, then if this was a trust that was set up by GF's will, then it would be the named executor of his will who would have been responsible for setting up the trust according to the terms in the will. This is what is called a testamentary trust.

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The only understandable reason why the trust wouldn't have been set up is if there weren't enough assets in GF's estate to pay all his debts and any other specific gifts that he made to beneficiaries. If there isn't enough money to fund the trust, then that gift fails.

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But if the trust was set up as required, then since GF is deceased, that leaves aunt as the only trustee of the trust. So if she doesn't know where the money is, then to me that looks like she took it and any other assets in the trust for herself. No one else has the legal authority to do anything with trust assets.

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So at this point, you need to send aunt a certified letter requesting an "inventory" and "accounting" for the trust so you can see what is in it and where the assets have gone.

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If she tapdances around or puts you off, that is a red flag that something is very wrong and you need to immediately get in contact with a local estate law attorney to file suit against her for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in the local probate court and force her to appear in front of the judge to explain what is going on.

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Now that I have that additional information, the whole thing with aunt and husband smells fishy...

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thanks

Barrister

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