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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55705
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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My Mother died leaving a sum of money in a trust to all the

Customer Question

My Mother died leaving a sum of money in a trust for distribution to all the 5 siblings, equally.
My Sister is the Trustee and stated that California law requires her to wait 120 days before distribution to the other shareholders of the trust. Is that correct?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.

I'm presuming this was a revocable living trust that was set up to avoid that correct? Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Trust documents simply call it a Living Trust
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Trust was written in 1991
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! That's what I needed to know. Your sister is right. What happens is that before the money can be distributed, the trustee has to post a notice of your mother's death to notify creditors and then the creditors have a specified time period to submit their claims. This is so the creditors of your mom must be paid prior to any distributions. Even if it's thought that all creditors have been paid, the trustee must wait for this period to end to avoid being potentially personally liable for the debts and liabilities that weren't paid due to not waiting the requisite time period. So, your sister does have the need to wait to fulfill her duties as trustee.

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could say the trustee would be obligated to distribute the money immediately, but, I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Another question: We were sent a letter from my sister's attorney called Notification by Trustee, Pursuant to California Probate Code 16061.7. In that document it states in bold letters that "YOU MAY NOT BRING AN ACTION TO CONTEST THE TRUST MORE THAN 120 DAYS FROM THE DATE THIS NOTIFICATION BY THE TRUSTEE IS SERVED UPON YOU OR 60 DAYS FROM THE DATE ON WHICH A COPY OF THE TERMS OF THE TRUST IS MAILED OR PERSONALLY DELIVERED TO YOU DURING THAT 120 DAY PERIOD, WHICHEVER IS LATER."
Dose this mean that, prior to distribution, I need to waive my rights as a shareholder of the trust?
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for following up. No, that simply means you can't contest the actual trust agreement (i.e., that you disagree with the trust provisions dividing the assets between the 5 of you). It does not relate to the "administration" of the trust. So, if the trustee were to steal your money or distribute it in some other percentage, that would be in the "administration" of the trust and would be a breach of the trustee's fiduciary duty.