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LawHelpNow
LawHelpNow, Attorney/Lawyer
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My father left me an inheritance trust fund being distributed

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My father left me an inheritance trust fund being distributed by the executor of the will , my brother, who I cannot fully trust after seeing things like not dividing the assets properly, etc. Since January of 2009 my trust has been literally cut in half, which I simply cannot live on. This is a 20 year trust and it didn't get out of probate until 2004. Currently, there is roughly 3,500.00 left in the trust; however every time I try to lower my almost $2,000.00 per month non-adjustable mortgage, I request information from him and he destroys my chances (Obamas Government Programs) that I was finally eligible for until possibly now that I only get half of the $12,000.00 I was getting quarterly. I desperately need the adjustable rate mortgage and I need it substantially lowered.   In December I will be getting $1000.00 per month for disability. Can you advise me how to go about this situation, can someone go over the information and see if I am or have been ripped off?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thanks for choosing Just Answer®. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and assist you.

 

To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify these points so I can best address your inquiry:

 

  1. I think I am following you, but I am confused about one figure you listed. Are you saying that there is roughly $3,500 (three thousand, five hundred dollars) left in the corpus of the trust? I want to make sure that my understanding on that point is accurate.

  2. Could you explain the rationale behind your father appointing your brother and setting up the trust (i.e. are you under any legal disabilities or were you a minor at the time your father died)?

 

Once I hear back from you, I will be glad to let you know my answer. There may be some delay as I am assisting other customers or am away from my computer. Please rest assured, however, that I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Thanks!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Mr. Burt:

 

On 12/31/2008 there was $264,495.70 in the corpus of the trust. I am sorry that was my mistake. I have been on disability for Lyme disease since the early 80's and my brother is one of those mathematical geniuses, there was no comparison of which one of us he would choose. However my father thought I was living above my means, when in actuality the social security disability stinks and I had a daughter to support (who is in the will) and a friend was giving me financial gifts to help me out, but he did not want to have to explain this to certain individuals. I was asked not to tell anyone, that is when my father changed the will from 50/50 in cash for both my brother and I. If I had only known what a disasterous mess this was going to make by witholding information that had nothing to do with anyone but my friend and I, I never would have accepted it. In the beginning of probate we were literally having a war over splitting my father's things and he cleverly exploited his power of attorney to be used (not to lock his sister out of her home since 2nd grade, even thought I wasn't living there, nor was he), with 4 sets of keys to our home and a combination to the garage. Additionally, he used lawyers freely to fight me over contensting this will which was a giant red flag that the trust is paying for my lawyer to fight his, which is being paid for by the trust....isn't that my money? He did this without telling me his load of crap about taking good care of the trust and honoring my father's last wishes, which he broke many times before. I have good reason to believe that my father had life insurance, and that all the money received for items inside the house were auctioned off and I haven't ever seen a dime, plus the sale of his new car. Can this be proven, I have kept all the files from all lawyers. Additionally, he was desparate to have me sign something called an Authorization to Execute Refunding Bond and Release...he said he had to sign one too but that he didn't have his. I signed not knowing what I was signing in desparate need to trust my brother like he told me to I needed that money from the trust to start litigation against my ex who abducted my daughter on the day of my father's funeral. I was under extreme duress. Thank you very much, Rosanne Olsher

Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.

 

  1. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information. Thank you for taking the time to write back and supply the additional requested information, which was helpful to my analysis of your inquiry. I am sorry for the situation, and I hope that everything gets resolved appropriately in this matter.
  2. Based on what you have related here, you have described a classic case of breach of fiduciary duty. You have solid grounds to seek legal redress given all that you have endured throughout this entire mess. This is all the more true in light of the documentary evidence and circumstances of your case. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that, as a trustee, your brother owes a fiduciary duty to you as a beneficiary of your father as the decedent. A fiduciary duty consists of a duty of good faith and fair dealing, and a duty of competency. It is one of the absolute highest duties recognized at law. In fact, a fiduciary must always consider the best interests of the trust before his own interests. When an executor or trustee profits from his or her position (other than earning agreed-upon compensation), they have in all likelihood breached their fiduciary duty. A failure to safeguard trust assets that causes a loss to the heirs and beneficiaries may also be a breach of fiduciary duty.
  3. What all of this boils down to is that, as a damaged or injured beneficiary, you have standing to file a lawsuit against your brother as the trustee. Under some circumstances, he could even be held personally liable for your losses. These types of cases are difficult and emotionally charged, and you absolutely need a skilled probate litigation attorney to represent you. Many times a favorable result can be obtained through mediation, but if that fails you are looking at some potentially protracted litigation. One incentive for a lawyer to accept such cases is the available of seeking leave of Court to pay legal fees from the corpus of the trust. Given the amount at stake here, I would strongly encourage you to confer with local legal counsel as soon as possible. Due to the complexity of these suits, I am sorry to say that is likely to be your only reasonable hope for obtaining some measure of meaningful relief here.

 

I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.

 

If my answer has been helpful to you, please click "ACCEPT" so that I may be paid. This is the only way that I will receive compensation for the work performed. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done. Clicking "FEEDBACK" to leave your positive comments is always greatly appreciated.

 

The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I still don't know what a Authorization to Execute Refunding Bond and release is.....it states 1. that me, as beneficiary of the Trust, hereby authorizes the Trustee to execute Refunding Bond and Release in the format attached hereto as Exhibit A. I have asked my brother repeatedly for Exhibit A, and to this day, I have no idea what Exhibit A represents. I only saw a copy of his, which sounds somewhat like mine, but no point in typing it in here, because it is blank and unsigned.

2. I, name, hereby release , my brother's name, as executor of the estate of my father and the estate of my father from all claims and demands, whatsoever, in law or in equity, on account of or in respect of the estate of my father.

It sounds to me, under such duress, and pain and suffering at this time, that he tricked me into signing away all of the rights put in the will by my father. I had to start litigating over my abducted daughter, who by the way was at my father's house all along, while I pulled my hair out not knowing where she was.

I had to pay the family attorney tens of thousands and then appeal and still lost, my reputation is destroyed through the court of appeals putting false allegations, so he could keep my child, on the internet for the world to see. Are they allowed to do this? They are lies that can be proven, although like the rest of the 7 year protracted custody battle, his was nothing but heresay, and he got away with it anyway. Nobody cared. If this is what I have to look forward to again, plus if this will wipe out my trust fund what is the point. Then I loose the money anyway, what is it that he is loosing that is so important to him. He is getting something out of this and I know it must be a lot of money or he wouldn't even bother with all this angst. Do you have any idea re: the above?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I still don't know what a Authorization to Execute Refunding Bond and release is.....it states 1. that me, as beneficiary of the Trust, hereby authorizes the Trustee to execute Refunding Bond and Release in the format attached hereto as Exhibit A. I have asked my brother repeatedly for Exhibit A, and to this day, I have no idea what Exhibit A represents. I only saw a copy of his, which sounds somewhat like mine, but no point in typing it in here, because it is blank and unsigned.

2. I, name, hereby release , my brother's name, as executor of the estate of my father and the estate of my father from all claims and demands, whatsoever, in law or in equity, on account of or in respect of the estate of my father.

It sounds to me, under such duress, and pain and suffering at this time, that he tricked me into signing away all of the rights put in the will by my father. I had to start litigating over my abducted daughter, who by the way was at my father's house all along, while I pulled my hair out not knowing where she was.

I had to pay the family attorney tens of thousands and then appeal and still lost, my reputation is destroyed through the court of appeals putting false allegations, so he could keep my child, on the internet for the world to see. Are they allowed to do this? They are lies that can be proven, although like the rest of the 7 year protracted custody battle, his was nothing but heresay, and he got away with it anyway. Nobody cared. If this is what I have to look forward to again, plus if this will wipe out my trust fund what is the point. Then I loose the money anyway, what is it that he is loosing that is so important to him. He is getting something out of this and I know it must be a lot of money or he wouldn't even bother with all this angst. Do you have any idea re: the above?







Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 5 years ago.

Hello again,

 

Thanks for writing back. I will be glad to comment further.

 

If you have future questions, I would be happy to dialog with you further even after you click "Accept" to process my answer.

 

In New Jersey, by statute (N.J.S.A. 3B:23-24) an executor is required on paying a beneficiary his or her share of the estate, to take a Refunding Bond and Release from the beneficiary and to file the bond in the Surrogate's Court. The statute requires that the Refunding Bond and Release be in the amount or value of the beneficiary's share of the estate. The Refunding Bond and Release must be signed by the beneficiary before a Notary Public or attorney. If the beneficiary is a minor or incapacitated person, the Refunding Bond and Release must be signed by the guardian of the property. The Refunding Bond and Release has a dual purpose: (1) Refunding - To refund to the executor out of his share of the estate his ratable part of any unpaid debts, owed by the testator, if there are no other assets to pay them; and (2) Release - To discharge the executor of an estate of his duties upon distribution to the beneficiary of her share of the estate.

 

You have been through such an ordeal here, and my only idea by way of a solution is to seek redress through mediation and/or litigation. Seeking judicial intervention through legal counsel is, in my opinion, the only step that will afford any meaningful relief to you based on your brother's conduct. You cannot go back in time and undo the signing and everything else that has taken place, but you can go to Court and prove up duress, undue influence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, etc.

 

Take care and thanks again for using JustAnswer®.

 

[Please click the "Accept" button. This is the only way I will get paid for my services.]

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