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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5165
Experience:  Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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My father passed away this year on fathers day. He left a

Customer Question

My father passed away this year on fathers day. He left a will and estate leaving his business partner as the trustee. I was left a very expensive vehicle in the will. The trustee asked me for the title and said he had a buyer for the vehicle in the state he lives in. I have never signed any papers or the title. He called today and said he had a check from the dealer in Kentucky but it had to be made out to my father, because the title was made out in his name. He then said he would deposit the check into my dad's account and write a check out to me. Something does not feel right about this - maybe I am being paranoid. Does this seem correct to you?
JA: Have the trust documents been finalized? What are the basic terms?
Customer: I don't honestly know - I know that the estate was cleared by the court in South Carolina where I live. The will just said that the car and house were left to me and another house and car left to my brother. I am just confused how a car could be sold that was left to me. I questioned my dad's partner and executor and he assured me that everything was done correctly. He wants the car picked up this Saturday and I have nothing in writing. I asked him if the 105,000 check was not cleared by the bank - because of my father's death. He said that my dad's account was still open and that the bank was still clearing checks on the account. If there was a problem he would get the money to me in a week or so. I am feeling really uncomfortable about this. I don't want to give a car to a dealership I don't even know with not any paperwork.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: what paper work should I be asking for to protect myself. I am trying to act like I don't trust my dad's partner because he is control of everything and could make this very difficult for us and drag things out. He maybe telling the truth - I just want to protect myself there is a large estate involved.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

100% satisfaction rating so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

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Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

I would tend to agree with you that this seems a little bit fishy. If you are left the vehicle in the will, this means that the trustee did not have the right to sell the vehicle unless the will said that the trustee was allowed to do something just like that. The bot***** *****ne is that the trustee needed to have the title transferred over from your father's name over to your name with the DMV. The trustee does not have the right to sell this property because you have an expectancy interest in this property. If this is the case, then it is possible that the trustee may be breaching their financial duty to all of the beneficiaries of the will. You may want to consider just writing a formal demand letter And stay ahead of this by stating in the demand letter that you are requesting that you received title to the vehicle pursuant to the will. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a demand letter (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

Follow up questions are free, so please feel free to ask away. You can also click here in the future to request me individually. If you don’t have any additional questions, were you satisfied with my service today?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He had asked me to send him the titles to both cars left by my father. He is meeting with my brother tomorrow at DMV to sign over the title to the car he was left. I asked why I was not doing the same he said that he was trying to avoid the probate waiting period of 45 days in South Carolina and get me the money quickly. I am really confused and something does not feel right.
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

I agree. Something is not right. Because you were left the vehicle, only you have the right in the authority to have the car sold. Unless the will specifically said that the trustee had the power to sell it then the trustee does not have the power to sell it. My recommendation would be to block the sale as much as you can and do not provide the trustee any documentation that would allow him to go through at the sale. Did you have any other questions for me?