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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55275
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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A close friend recently passed away. He had a Living Trust

Customer Question

A close friend recently passed away. He had a Living Trust that already contained most of his assets with a pour over will that places everything else into the trust. If I'm interested in challenging the most recently named representative, sole successor
trustee, and sole beneficiary on the grounds of undue influence that involves a confidential relationship at the time of concealed revisions: 1) Does that mean all value is located in the Trust Estate and almost nothing of value remains in the Probate Estate,
therefore exempting the apparent beneficiary from being challenged in probate court (ARS 14-3973 - Small estates; summary administrative procedure)? 2) Is any portion of the Living Trust within the jurisdiction of the probate court? 3) If a challenge to the
trust cannot be done through probate, where do I challenge Trust document revisions that were the product of undue influence? 4) Is self representation the above Trust challenge permitted as an interested party? 5) A requirement for creation of a Trust, according
to ARS 14-10402: The same person is not the sole trustee and sole beneficiary". Does this apply to a successor being the the Sole Trustee and the Sole beneficiary? If so, what impact will that have if that condition is only present within the challenged document,
not the most recent restatement (only 6 weeks prior to the challenged copy) and all priors to my family, which include multiple beneficiaries? 6) What is the time frame I have to act?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was a free question with my membership, but there's a $50 tip for satisfactory answers with detailed references to the authority-having/governing instruments which speak directly to each of the 6 itemized aspects of my inquiry. This appears to be the crux of my entire situation. I require a thorough understanding.Please don't be concerned that you might overwhelm me with information. Please give me all the help, data, wisdom, court precedent, and legal statute you can throw at me which could/maybe/might/possibly be relevant if the necessary conditions exist. The more information the better.Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PS. I can provide relevant portions of the actual language contained in the will and trust documents if a narrower context and more specificity will lesson the burden of my request. Please let me know.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.
Can you provide me a bit more information? Can you provide me a bit more information on what actions were taken to constitute "undue influence?" Also, did the decedent have a prior will and/or trust which provided that you would be a or the beneficiary? Thanks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Richard, eventually I would love to discuss in detail whether or not I would be able to show a preponderance of evidence. But first I would like to know if that discussion is even worth having (questions 1 through 6).Regarding your second question: Yes, we have an original will and declaration of trust prepared by a lawyer with zero mistakes or holographic revisions, every page is initialized, there are two witnesses with a proper attestation clause, a notary stamp and signature, and the original raised embossment of the lawyer's stamp from the year 2005. We also have a restatement with consistent intentions in January of 2015. The first and only other question I have posted through this service was directly targeted at the question of whether I would be an interested party. The probate lawyer I was conversing with agreed that I am an interested party with rights because I am specifically named as both a successor trustee and successor beneficiary (by name in the 2015 version, by implication of surviver in the 2005 version).The will and trust I seek to challenge were hastily signed only 6 weeks later with scratched out dates that are (apparently) initialized by the notary, naming this person as the sole everything. He died unexpectedly 3 months later, right after she found out he was dating another woman.  She also demanded immediate cremation and wouldn't allow an autopsy, despite our pleading. This rabbit hole goes far deeper than I have explained, but I don't want to place the cart before the horse.  I don't even know how or where to make this challenge if she's exempt from probate, or how long I would have to prepare for it.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for responding. I think your questions are so detailed and fact specific that you are going to eventually need an attorney licensed in Arizona. Thus, I think it's probably best that such an attorney help you from the inception. Therefore, I am going to opt out to open your question up to all experts so hopefully an Arizona-licensed expert can timely provide you the information you seek. Please do not respond to this post as it will only slow the process of such an expert picking up your question. Take care.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.