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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33798
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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The trustee died several years ago and 3 brothers are

Customer Question

The trustee died several years ago and 3 brothers are trustees. Can two of the trustees make a decision to distribute assets to themselves without giving anything to the third trustee?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Who are the beneficiaries listed in the trust?

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Are you saying the 3 brothers are successor trustees in charge of the trust now?

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What does the trust state about what powers the trustees have regarding distribution of assets?

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Does it give them the power to give assets to themselves with a majority vote?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The beneficiaries are deceased parents. The 3 brothers are sole trustee successors. no one else is mentioned. The irrevociable trust says the trustees have control over all assets so can buy, sell etc (after death of beneficiaries) and it says distributions are determined upon agreement of trustees. Two trustees want to divide all assets to give to themselves and give nothing to a third (us) Is that legal?
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

If there were no other named beneficiaries to receive the assets of the trust, then while that is odd, it is not unheard of.

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The trust determines what happens to the assets in it and if the maker of the trust wanted to give the trustees the right to give the assets to anyone they wanted, including themselves, then that is allowable.

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However, unless it says that it takes a majority vote, then it would require a unanimous decision for the distributions to occur.

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So the one trustee left out could file suit against the other two for breach of their fiduciary duties if they tried to give themselves all the assets and a judge would likely dissolve the trust and order an equal division of the assets between all the trustees.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No thanks it is fairly clear, It says upon the death of both of the donors, this trust may terminate at the discretion of the trustees or may be continued for such time as the trustees may determine and upon termination of the trust, the principle and all accumulated shall be paid to the trustees as tenants in common or to their heirs by right of representation.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Does tenants in common mean equally?
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Yes, that is exactly what it means. So if there are 3 trustees, then they each get 1/3.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you so much.
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

You are very welcome. Glad to help any time..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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