Can an irrevocable trust be altered? And, if my mother had a trust worked up but never signed it, is it enforcible?The problem is her husband, whom she married 8 years ago, appears to be making moves toward leaving and taking as much as he can even though he came to the marriage without anything. The trust was written incorrectly and as such was never signed.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
Nothing... the issue has just begun to surface.
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. An irrevocable trust cannot be altered except by the person establishing the trust, or by order of a court dependent on circumstance surround the trust. A court order altering such a trust would be very, very rare and would likely have to revolve around illegalities relative to the establishment of the trust.
Also, a trust is not valid unless properly executed. As such, if a trust is drafted and not signed, it never goes into effect...it is as if it never existed, unfortunately.
In the present case, since the trust was improperly written and thus not signed, it has no legal bearing or significance and cannot be enforced.
Just to clarify, since my mother established the trust, she can change it, correct? The lawyer set up everything as share and share alike between I and her husband, but he was only supposed to get half of the two house bought after the marriage with the right to live in if he could continue the payments should he outlive my mother. Both are over 75.
The trust papers were never signed, however, a tax return was filed for 2010. Does this do anything to the legality of the trust?
You are correct in that your mother can change a trust that is active and valid. However, if the trust was never signed then it is not active or valid. It has to be signed to activate the trust and make it legally valid. The tax return will not aid the legality of the trust if it was never signed. The only thing that validates it is the signature of the person setting the trust in place.
Thank you so much for your respones. They have been very helpful! Just one last thing. SInce I am unfamiliar with trusts, if she were to sign it, then does a lawyer file it with the court? Or is the signature the only thing that validates it?
The signature coupled with it being notarized and typically witnessed is what activates it. It does not have to be filed with a court.
9 years practicing IP law and general litigation
Thank you! This has been very helpful!
No problem, and I wish you the best going forward with this issue.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).