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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 53673
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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In November, 2015 my sister-in-law changed the beneficiary

Customer Question

In November, 2015 my sister-in-law changed the beneficiary of her IRA from a trust to my wife.. In July, 2015 she was deemed competent in writing by her cancer doctor who had treated her in Florida. She died in California in July, 2016. In February, 2016, a different doctor in California deemed her incompetent in writing.
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: California. Parties of the trust are preparing litigation to return the beneficiary to the trust. and take the IRA from my wife. Question: Can they do this since my sister-in-law was competent when she changed the beneficiary in November, 2015
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not yet..I believe the trust party has hired one in California.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: The deceased was writing her own checks for her bills after she went back to her home in California. She was driving her car, shopping and cooking for her self In December, and January.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon. My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today! It will take me just a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

They do have the right to file the suit because you can never prevent someone from filing a suit. BUT, whether or not they would prevail is a whole other question. Courts go out of their way to carry out the intent of the decedent as evidenced by their actions. So, if the parties to the trust do sue, the burden is going to be on them to prove the incompetence at the time your sister in law made the change. It's a facts and circumstances situation and not black and white. BUT, a later determination that she was incompetent doesn't create incompetence retroactively! They will have to prove that your sister in law was either mentally incompetent at the time, and/or that there was fraud, undue influence, mistake, duress, or coercion involved. The burden, as I said, will be on them and it's a high burden. Unless they have fairly substantial proof, you will prevail.

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