Trusts & Estates Law/irrevocable trust

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Question
before dad passed he set up an irrevocable trust and named my sister as the executor of the trust. In it, he was very clear with how the trust was to be handled and named all four of us kids beneficiaries. Our mother is going into hospice and my sister refuses to show me the ORIGINAL copy. I have learned that the trust was changed 2 more times taking me out of the original trust and putting my daughter in my place. Second time trust changed it was to take out my daughter and put the other grandkids in. Both times the trust was changed my sister and brother took my mother to another county to make the changes.  My sister has allowed her 33 yrs old alcoholic live with her and both use my mothers account to take money. My 3 sibling have already received $10,000.00 each and have taken money from our mother knowing she was not well and not clearly thinking. My siblings have already removed property and personal items from our moms home. My other sister and I believe that our brother and sister have been coercing our mom to give other  in order to receive large amounts of cash from the trust to purchase new cars for their kids, to pay off debts, to purchase a condo for our brother. what can I do? thank you so much!!

Answer
In the 25+ years that I've been helping business owners and individuals, and the 10 or so years I've been answering questions on AllExperts.com yours is the most consistent problem. Estate issues are always painful. More so than business because it always includes contention between family members. I've had a lot of opportunity to consider all the options, so let me cover them briefly.

You could file a lawsuit against her, as the fiduciary she has strict obligations as to how she is required to handle the money.

You'll spend upwards of $100,000 and she'll spend around that too, if it ever really went to court. She'd be spending the trusts money for her defense. So, I'd guess when it all said and done all the money would be gone, both of your attorneys will be happy that they could be a part of resolving this family issue because they were paid handsomely. And you probably wouldn't be getting together for Christmas dinner.

Since her failure to fulfill on her fiduciary obligations borders on criminal, you would think you could contact your state attorney general and have it investigated. But that won't happen, because that sounds like a lot of work for the AG's office and no headlines in the local paper. And you still won't be eating Christmas dinner together.

Either way, you are going to spend the next 2-4 years miserable, worrying, throwing away money, hating, and eating yourself up physically and emotionally.

There are a lot ways that you could retaliate, none of them is going to improve the situation that you are in. Many are illegal.

Your siblings have no honor or integrity. That is sad and painful to realize.  

What can you do?

You can spend a few hours every day or every week fuming over your siblings greed for the next couple of decades and have nothing but hate and an ulcer to show for it.

Or:
1. Love your mother unconditionally;
2. forgive your siblings, they are idiots, and the universally accepted truth is: you can't fix stupid.
3. Be a success, nothing would piss them off more than you being happy without them.
4. Invite everyone to Christmas Dinner at your house, really encourage everyone to come and make yours a family that isn't swayed by greed and stupidity. that'll be better for your daughter.
5. And commit that few hours a day making a difference in the world. It has been done before, and you are just as capable as others that have succeeded.

If you refocus that energy to building a successful business, you would far exceed what you thought you'd receive from the estate. You'd be happier, more confident, full of accomplishment, and in a far better financial position than your siblings that squandered their inheritance on alcohol, car payments, racking up debt, and rent.

This isn't a simple decision, not one that is as easy as changing the channel on the television, but it is one that will be a far better decision if you choose to make it.  

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Richard Fritzler

Expertise

Comparing the advantages and requirements of traditional estate practices, and unconventional methods? Are Trusts a viable asset protection vehicle? Is there an alternative to buying life insurance to reduce the impact of the estate tax. Is the elimination of the estate tax during the next decade good for everyone? I can review the benefits and misinformation that exists.

Experience

I have been in the business of assisting business owners in reducing their taxes and liability for over 17 years. We specialize in developing plans that eliminate the estate tax, not find a way to prepay it. Most small businesses do not survive the death of the principal. We want small businesses to not only survive, but flourish.

Organizations
National Small Business Owners Association.
Nevada Association of Listed Resident Agents.
Citizens Legal Association

Publications
Contributing author to "The Corporate Standard Newsletter".

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