Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hello. My name is***** am an attorney. I will review your question and develop a response. We may discuss it too. Does that sound good to you?
Great. This sounds like a trust wherein the son obtains a life estate (the right to live) in the home. He has a right to live in the house and as long as he lives in the house he has to pay the expenses for the upkeep. The home remains in the trust. Question: DO you know who gets the house after he dies? That could be an issue if the Aunt gets it because if the Aunt gets it, then there could be indication of self dealing since the son's heir's if any should get it after he dies. So, if the Mother was unduly influenced to put the house in the trust for the ultimate benefit of the Aunt that could be an issue especially if there are other siblings of the Mother, or son or if there are any grandchildren. We can discuss more if you would like to do so.
Usually moneys in a trust could be used for capital improvements, or arguably, the remainderman (the person who will get the house upon the death of a beneficiary) could be responsible for paying capital improvements. So there is an issue there and a good question. Also, depending on the trust terms, a trustee could sell real property. But from the facts presented here, it seems that the trust was set up to keep the house for the son's lifetime and selling it would not meet the intent of the grantor. We can continue to discuss if you would like to do so.
You would have to review the trust document to see if a sale of the property is permissible. Also, if allowed, you would look at the trust to determine what happens to the money. If the son believes his mother was unduly influenced, or fraud was involved, or the trustee if violating the terms of the trust, then the son would have to commence a court action. We can continue to discuss if you would like to do so.
If someone was fraudulently induced to form a trust, an action would be to rescind the trust. If there are violations of trust terms, the action would be a breach of fiduciary duty. An ethics claim would be something separate. A POA expires upon death and has no weight after death.
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