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My question involves family trusts and inheritance. My father had a family trust done years ago.  He now has cancer and dose not have very much time. He and I had a falling out 20 years ago. I was in formed by him that I was disowned and I was going to be cut from the family trust. I have a younger sister I am the first born son. Do I have any rights at all? My mother is question is my sister has a very bad drug addiction. She has for many years. My father is in aware of this.If every thing is left to her.everything my parents worked for their whole lives will be wasted on drugs and will more than likely kill my sister. I don't know what rights I have or what I can do. Any advice that would  point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

I'm very sorry for your situation.  Unfortunately, unless your parents are disinheriting you because someone has "unduly influenced" them or some other heinous reason, they have the right to leave their assets to whomever they want.  

I agree with you 100% that giving your sister money is a terrible idea ... but you'd be surprised how often I meet with people who are in complete denial regarding their children's addictions, etc.

If you have any kind of relationship with your parents, urge your father to consider seeing an estate planning lawyer and setting up a "spendthrift" trust for your sister.  I've set up trusts for alcoholic and addicted beneficiaries that will only pay for certain things (such as housing or food) - and the payments are made directly to the landlord so the "child" never gets cash in hand that they can trade for drugs, etc.  It's still "enabling" the addict or alcoholic to some degree - but at least there's less likelihood that the money will kill them.

Good luck.

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Janet Brewer


BE CAREFUL about taking legal advice from non-lawyers.

I am a licensed attorney in California. I am available to answer questions about probating estates, preparing wills and trusts, administering estates and trusts, forming family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, and establishing a wide variety of estate and gift tax-sensitive trusts (charitable trusts, children's trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, etc.).

I can also answer questions regarding the preparation of estate tax returns (Form 706) in taxable estates. Please note that I do not prepare trust income tax returns and cannot provide you with any information about that type of return.

Please note: I am only able to practice law in the State of California. I cannot answer specific questions about other states' laws; I can only provide some "general" information that may or may not apply to your situation.


I have practiced California estate, gift-planning, and probate law exclusively since 1991. I am certified as a specialist in estate planning and probate law by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization (there are less than 125 such specialists practicing in Santa Clara County and fewer than 7,000 practicing in California - out of over 170,000 lawyers statewide).

I have served as an Instructor in the CFP (certificate in financial planning) program at University of California Santa Cruz, teaching the estate planning segment.

Silicon Valley Bar Association
Wealth Counsel
Wealth Advisors' Forum
Executive Committee Member, Solo and Small Firm Section of the California State Bar (appointed to a 3 year term by the California State Bar Board of Governors)

I received my law degree (J.D.) from University of Denver Law School in 1975. I was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1975 and to the California Bar in 1977 (NOTE: although I am a member of the Colorado Bar, I am on INACTIVE status there). I earned an M.B.A. in 1982, and I earned a Masters Degree in Taxation Law (LLM) at Golden Gate University Law School in 2010 (with honors).

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Awards and Honors
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 - chosen as a "SuperLawyer" - one of the top 5% of Northern California lawyers practicing in the estate planning and probate area ( Avvo Rating of 10.0/10.0

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