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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33803
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My brother-in-law has taken over my parents trust fund as

Customer Question

My brother-in-law has taken over my parents trust fund as the trustee, saying that my mother (who is suffering from dementia) has turned over that responsibility to him. My father passed away two years ago. There are five daughters in the family (including his wife). He took over October 2014, and sent all of us a registered letter telling us in December 2014 (two months after he took over). None of us knew anything about this until December 2014. I have asked him three times (two by written letter) to see a copy of the Trust. Another sister has also asked to see the Trust. He feels we have no right to see the Trust, and wrote that if necessary he would contact my mother's attorney or financial adviser but we would be responsible for any cost incurred for contacting them. My question, don't we have a right to see the Trust, or at least a copy of something giving my mother's wishes ... whether she was capable of making that decision or not. ????
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 12 months 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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Can you tell me if the trust is revocable or irrevocable (if you know)?

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Has mother been declared legally incompetent by a judge and had a guardian appointed?

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Has anyone asked mother if brother in law (BIL) if she named him as the successor trustee?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
It is a revocable Trust. My mother has NOT been declared legally incompetent. Yes, I asked her ... her first response was no, but later told me that she wanted him to handle all her finances.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I know from an Insurance Policy that to change the beneficiaries (my sister & I changed to the Trust) , that my mother signed the Trust to him as the successor trustee.
Expert:  Barrister replied 12 months ago.

Ok, from a purely legal perspective, if mother has not been declared legally incompetent, then the presumption is that she is still competent. The reason that this is important is because with a revocable trust, until it becomes irrevocable, then the beneficiaries have no legal right to receive information about it from a trustee unless the grantor (maker) wants the trustee to provide info.

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Once the trust becomes irrevocable, which happens once the grantor dies or becomes legally incompetent, then this is considered a "material change" in the trust and then the beneficiaries' interests become fixed and they are then entitled to an inventory and accounting at least annually unless the trust states some other frequency. While the grantor is living and competent, they can make any changes that they want to the trust at any time without notifying anyone except the trustee.

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So to answer your question directly, no, you wouldn't have the right to see the trust until mother either passes or is declared legally incompetent.

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thanks

Barrister

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