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Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 73
Experience:  Sworn to the California Bar in 2011. Former staff editor at The New York Times Co. and seasoned news professional of 20 years experience in the U.S. and abroad.
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My 47 year-old male friend was seriously injured in a

Customer Question

My 47 year-old male friend was seriously injured in a head-on collision on the freeway when a pickup truck plowed into him going 70mph about 8 years ago. He was pronounced dead at the scene and only by the Grace of God and the persistence of an paramedic
in the back of an ambulance was he able to survive. But he went into a coma and had multiple fractures . They had to use "The Jaws Of Life" to get him out! After multiple surgeries and procedures, he was allowed to finally go home. His father bought my friend
a new condo and paid off the entire mortgage of $98,000, giving the condo to my friend so that he would have a place to live. My friends father made multiple modifications to the home to help him get around the inside. Shortly before his father died, his father
made a personal Trust for my friend and created a Trust Fund of $78,000. His father then made my friends brother and sister Legal Guardians of the Trust Fund and a 50/50 split in ownership of the condo. Upon reading the contents of the personal Trust for my
friend it states specifically that the condo was to be the permanent home for my friend for the rest of his life. It also states specifically that the money in the Trust Fund was to be used to keep my friend happy, healthy and completely fulfilled in every
aspect he desired for the rest of his life. Especially encouraging his desire for him to have all the friendships and joy in all aspects of relationships!!!!!!!!!! Shortly after my friends father died his brother and sister were able to get him on Disability.($725)
They also wrote a lease for my friend, charging him $450 a month, which they were able to deduct via a bank account, and being able to use their power as legal guardians. My friend just found that they had also being withdrawing another $550 a month from his
Trust Fund that was supposed to go towards his well being. My friend has come a long way from where he was just 3 years ago. At that time he wasn't able to walk or stand. His legs were not strong enough. And now he's getting strong he's riding a bike all the
time to the store and back. He's also reading and understanding what he reads. That particular disability is what caused the problems he's now facing. Because when his brother and sister had him sign the lease they wrote for the condo, he had barely begun
to understand what was written on the lease. His brother pressured him into signing with no one else around to help him understand what was written on it. And he didn't know until he invited a female to stay with him for a week. Because the lease says that
he cannot have any friend or friends stay longer than 3 nights. He violated a major tenet of the lease. Unfortunately, for my friend, his brother has followed every step in the eviction properly. He was written an unofficial eviction notice which was delivered
a couple months ago and an official eviction notice signed by a judge one month ago. He's being told he has to be out by Oct. 1, 2015. My friend is ready to fight the eviction and about to file a suit claiming both financial (in theft from the Trust Funds),
and emotional and psychological (through all the damage to his reputation via slander and lies directed towards all his friends and himself and all emotional scarring due to the fact that this is all being directed from both his brother and sister who have
been treating him like a piece of trash for the last years. They have gone so far as to tell him to his face that he deserves no more than section 8 housing, a liar, thief, drug addict, and that they wouldn't care one way or the other whether he lives or dies.
They both say he costs to much to maintain and they just want to sell the condo. My friend has another surprise for his brother and sister. He's made a list of all the repairs that they were informed about over the years to fix that they failed to do. He's
also made a list of all the items that they have bought specifically for him that would have come out of his Trust Fund. Because his brother made the mistake of saying and verifying that of the $78,000 in the original Trust Fund, there is now only about $20,00.
With the mea culpa being that if my friend does try and fight the eviction he'll only succeed in using all the money left in the Trust Fund. Also, I've been hearing a lot of talk about it being illegal for a landlord to forcibly evict a tenant during the winter
because of the threat of exposure to cold weather. What I really need to know though is if my friend has a case and can take his siblings to the cleaners!!!!!!!!!!!Does he have a good case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert: replied 1 year ago.

From this account, there are far too many issues involved to address each -- and it would be helpful to know the state.

Also, be aware I cannot give legal advice in this forum -- I merely speak with respect to general legal principals give the circumstances you mentioned.

The resolutions to many of the issues you mention depend entirely on the actual documents: the condo deed, the document of trust, Father's will. Also, the exact relationship and legal status of the siblings, whether these siblings were "guardians" or "trustees" of the trust fund.

The Condo:

In whose name is ***** ***** to the condo? Friend's Father bought the condo and "gave" it to Friend for life, but did Father transfer the deed to Friend's name?

If so, the condo belongs to Friend, and Friend has full ownership and control, and right to dispose (sell or mortgage it) of it.

If the Father retained the deed in his (Father's) own name, without transferring deed to his son (Friend) or others, then it was part of Father's estate when he died and should have been disposed of by father's will or by rules of intestacy.

However, if Father's will contained a legacy of a "life interest" to his son in the condo, then Friend has an absolute right of possession to the condo for the duration of his life, and no matter who owns the remainder of the condo property rights (siblings?).

If Friend does indeed own a life interest in the condo, then Siblings would have NO control or right in possession and can be excluded though legal means (and liable for damages to property).

If Father transferred the deed to Siblings "50-50," then the condo is THEIR property to control absolutely, UNLESS the deed of transfer included the language conveying a life interest in the condo to Friend.

If Father transferred the condo deed into this "Trust Fund" for Friend, then the trust fund trustees (siblings) own the condo but must manage it for the exclusive benefit of Friend, who is the beneficiary of the trust. There are legal means to force them to do this, or ask the court to remove the siblings as trustees and appoint new trustees.

If Father deeded the condo to siblings "50-50" they own it and can do with it what they wish -- including evict the Friend, or charge rent, or anything -- UNLESS the deed of transfer included a clause granting a "life interest" in the condo to Friend. [Various aspects of property can be transferred the the deed to different parties: for example, Father could have transferred ownership of the condo to the siblings entirely, or with the condition that Friend retains a life interest, and so that sibling are entitled to possession only after Friend's death.

NOTE: So property rights to the condo depend entirely on the deed of transfer and REGARDLESS of Father's intentions or earlier statements to Friend.

The Trust Fund:

If the trust fund was created orally, the existence of a trust and it's terms will have to be proven in court.

If the trust was created through a written document, the terms control, and the court will enforce them. Friend can ask the court to force the trustees to comply with the terms of the trust. He can also ask the court to REMOVE THE SIBLINGS AS TRUSTEES and appoint new trustee.

If the siblings, as trustees failed to do as the trust terms dictated, and have been taking money out improperly, they can be taken to court and forced to restore ALL THE MONEY THEY WRONGFULLY REMOVED for themselves.

Also, any "legal documents" such as deeds of transfer, powers of attorney, etc., that Friend signed while he was an invalid, and signed only under force from his brother -- "undue influence" -- may be nullified and values recovered:

Beyond that, additional wrongdoing by the siblings may be redressed though legal actions against the siblings for fraud.

If I can be of more personal service contact me directly via skype, e-mail available at rscottakin(dot)com or from LinkedIn or the directory at the State Bar of California.

Expert: replied 1 year ago.

If I can be of more personal service contact me directly via skype, e-mail available at rscottakin(dot)com or from LinkedIn or the directory at the State Bar of California.