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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33703
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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As the Executor of my husband's near EMPTY Irrevocable

Customer Question

As the Executor of my husband's near EMPTY Irrevocable Trust,
I am being harrassed by a hostile (estranged from his father for 20 years) beneficiary son.
I need to give you this background below before I can possibly pose an intelligent question...
My step son does not have legal representation. Therefore, all legal fees imposed on the Trust have been spent to "educate" him whenever he has made lengthy, unfounded claims.
We attended mediation & were so close to a settlement, but my step son got greedier on demanding some personal effects not specified in the will. Mediation ended without settlement. Step Son failed to submit claims by a deadline, so Judge dismissed the case.
He finally sought legal counsel but after getting nowhere, he quickly dismissed that attorney and now, withput an attorney, ahe is actually demanding that the Trust reimburse him for a year's worth of expenses on his case against the Trust.
The Trust Account cannot sustain the $20k legal fees, already incurred. I personally have been loaning the Trust out of my inherited savings. I realize that SOME day I am illegible for reimbursement.
This son is one of 3 beneficiaries to receive $25k.The Trust Account has little to no balance. Therefore, these cash gifts disbursements have had to be legally predicated on the Trust selling six real properties and/or should any gas well leases be taken, mineral rights woupd be a very available.
However, my step son demands cash gifts be disbursed immediately. He also demands that he receive his 25% of the Estate NOW,even before I die!
His sister, my step daughter, was bequeathed 75% of the estate as a beneficiary. She and I are thankfullly in complete accord.
Step son is Now challenging my real estate agent for not selling properties fast enough. The real estate agent VERYmistakenly devulged to him about how a real estate transaction went sour after my counter offer on a property was refused.
This became more Ammunition for his tirade.
So now, my step son is challenging to remove me as Executor based on that particular real estate issue and various other character assasinations.
I truly want to just "abdicate" my role as executor since the two children will inherit the estate anyway when I die... Acvording to the will at my demise, my step daughter is the appointed first contingency executor & her son is 2nd. It would be great if she took over the role now!
However if I were to abdicate and my step son sues me, the Trust could not pay my legal fees.
Questions?
Since I cannot keep paying property taxes out of my personal savings, hoping to be reimbursed some day, in lieu of the total $75 cash bequest to the 3 beneficiaries, may i "gift" a property of equal value to them NOW?
Even before it is brought to trial, can a harrassment judgement be brought against my step son to stop the mounting legal fees?
Also, to relieve the incredible and unfounded demands for more and more information made by step son, could the court appoint my step daughter as a co mediatrix?
I need her good common sense in my corner.I am understandably rattled after a year and a half of battle. I didn't even have time to grieve my husband's passing before step son began the harrassment. He never even attended his father's funeral!
Thank you.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 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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You mention a trust and also being executor.... Is there a trust with a trustee and an open probate estate with you as executor? (they are two completely different legal entities)

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If there is a trust, when does it state that the assets in it must be distributed?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am the Trustee. I have completed all the filings with the court. Probate is closed. The case is in suspension.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The distribution of assets is upon my demise. My step son is annoyed by this clause.
Step son demands his $25 k cash bequest Now!
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Ok, thank you for that information... If the triggering event is your passing, then you can tell the stepson to go jump off a cliff because he is not legally entitled to anything until your passing. He has what is called a vested floating interest.. His interest is fixed at 25%, but the time he will receive it is "floating" as it could become final tomorrow or 30 years from now..

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So he has no legal standing to demand anything at this point and you have zero obligation to pay any of his attorney fees for him trying to challenge the trust directives.

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If you and all the other parties agree in writing, then you could approach the court and ask for permission to distribute assets now. But since the trust is irrevocable, it can't be changed without the probate court's approval.

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If it is necessary for liquidity, then you auction one of the properties at public auction and then use that money to reimburse yourself for any loans to the trust and use the rest to respond to his frivolous requests. If he wants to spend his inheritance on the trust's attorney fees, so he ends up with nothing, that is his choice.

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But as for you quitting, you can do so at any time and all you need to do is give written notice to all the beneficiaries that you are doing so and then the successor trustee would then take over the fight with stepson..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Unfoetunately, the cash bequests are separate fom the assets I believe.But the Trust does not have the total $75 k. for these bequests.
It has been documented in court that the $25 per beneficiary will be dispersed when the properties sell.I still remain trustee even if I am no longer the executor; so if step son tries to sue me, then the Trust account would have to pick up those legal fees right?Despite my 3 repeated requests not to engage in back and forth banterings with my step son, the Trust litagating attorney feels compelled to protect my status as executor. He replies by email to my stepson's continuous, wild threats ..I cannot keep loaning the Trust money for legal fees that are incurring.what do I do?The economy is so repressed in the rural part of west Texas, that if the properties were auctioned off there would be so little money gained that after reimbursements I still would have little to live on.
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

I still remain trustee even if I am no longer the executor; so if step son tries to sue me, then the Trust account would have to pick up those legal fees right?

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Correct. As long as you are in that role, the trust has the duty to pay for any legal defenses that are brought by anyone.

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Despite my 3 repeated requests not to engage in back and forth banterings with my step son, the Trust litagating attorney feels compelled to protect my status as executor. He replies by email to my stepson's continuous, wild threats .

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what do I do?

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He is doing that because he can continue to bill the trust for fees in doing so. So you need to send him something in writing stating that he is not to respond to any further communications from stepson as the trust will not be paying him if he chooses to do so. Once he realizes he can't milk the trust any longer, he won't respond.

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So you and your attorney need to simply ignore stepson's demands as they have no legitimate legal grounds for him to pursue.

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thanks

Barrister

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