Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

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fair4den
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Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm

Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Just a small glimpse into our horrific ordeal: We had to find out the date and location of our dad’s funeral on a website! When we have seen him every week for the last 6 months called him every day until his passing.

My father was married to my mother for 40+ years until her passing and then remarried his second wife for 17 years before his passing last week. He wanted to show us his trust several times but the wife would not allow it. He was afraid to go against her and we the children left it alone thinking that we didn't want to cause any problems and figured it will be shown at the appropriate time. We were naïve because upon his passing, she changed the locks on the doors and refused to speak to us. A complete 180 from when he was alive. He read the will to my sister a couple of years ago that he wanted to give us the house and other family heirlooms. We are lost now of what to do. We do not have a copy of the trust, nor the lawyer’s contact information who created the trust. We no longer have access to the home to get the items he left for us.

Does anyone know how to get information about the lawyer who created the trust? Is there a public database or some other way of getting it? Even if by some miracle we get the lawyer’s information. Will he or she give us the trust documents? We are afraid that time is of the essence and have no doubt that she will change or has changed the trust to leave everything to her family and sadly we don’t think we will find a way into the home before all of it is gone.. Please help..

Good Listener
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Good Listener » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:11 pm

I would go right to a lawyer and I'm sure the lawyer can help get this worked out.

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Pajamas
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Pajamas » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:13 pm

Perhaps you could talk to someone in the local probate court or office or similar or hire a lawyer local to your father's residence to assist.

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bottlecap
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by bottlecap » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:32 pm

I’d talk to a lawyer. Be prepared for the news that the trust was revoked and the will changed several months before his death. The kids will get just enough to make it worth not challenging the new will. Because it you do challenge, you'll forfeit what you do get.

Manipulative people do bad things. And if the t's were crossed and the i's dotted, they will win.

I’m sorry that you lost your Dad and for the circumstances in general.

JT
.

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:41 pm

Thank you for your comments and kind words. Do u know how we can get a copy of the trust without knowing the lawyer’s contact info without going through a lawyer to get that? If that makes any sense..

aristotelian
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by aristotelian » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:52 pm

Call your local Probate court. The records should all be public in part to give you an opportunity to contest. You may be able to do a search on their website.

Agree with others that you should probably retain an attorney. There may be nothing you can do but at least you can try.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:57 pm

Condolences.
AFAIK trust law requires that beneficiaries receive a copy of trust documents after death of trustee/grantor.
Seek legal counsel.

Hopefully, expert in-house legal counsel "bsteiner" will input.

delamer
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by delamer » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:00 pm

I am sorry about your father.

You need a lawyer to represent your interests. I’d get a local attorney in the county where your father lived.

Find one tomorrow. The longer you delay, the more opportunity for your father’s wife to take control and for heirlooms to disappear.

Wide Right
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Wide Right » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:27 pm

Go get a consult from a local Trusts & Estates lawyer. It will be well worth it, even if you have to pay a couple hundred bucks. You are right: Time is of the essence.

Generally speaking, the Trustee (probably the stepmother) has to send out notice to all beneficiaries (and in some states the legal heirs too) once a Settlor/Grantor (a person who created the trust) dies. The sending of this letter usually starts the clock running on the recipient's ability to contest the trust. That being said, don't sit around waiting for the letter to arrive. The law in your state might not require that notice be sent to heirs who are not beneficiaries, she might not send it to you even though it is required, she might claim not to have your address, assets will disappear, etc.

For an example of how this is treated in one state, California, see California Probate Code section 16061.7. While you're at it, also see section 16061.5, which requires a Trustee to provide a copy of the trust to any beneficiary or heir who requests it. If the law in your state is similar, you (or your lawyer) might start with a certified letter to the stepmother requesting a copy of the trust.

To find the name of the trust (and the Trustee), you can check the office of the county recorder (or its equivalent in your state). People with trusts will usually retitle assets (including their house) in the name of the trust as soon as the trust is created. Look for a deed from, for example, John and Mary Doe, Grantor, to The Doe Family Trust, Grantee.

Good luck.

LarryAllen
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by LarryAllen » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:49 pm

The best way to figure out who the drafting lawyer was is to look at the deed that put the house into the trust which is a public record. It often will list the attorney's name and/or the attorney will be the notary. However, with that information you are not entitled to a copy of the trust, from the attorney, unless you are named successor trustee.

By law, in most states I assume, the successor trustee is supposed to put everybody on notice in some cases. For example, in California if the trust becomes irrevocable. However, if the trust does not become irrevocable then you might not be entitled to a copy.

Certainly it's a good idea to talk to a very experienced trust and estates attorney in your state.

However, as someone above pointed out, the trust may have been amended and/or it may be a sweetheart trust with everything going to the surviving spouse. Men, especially, are notorious for not protecting their kids in second marriage situations.

I personally wouldn't invest a ton of money on this project as I wouldn't feel confident of coming out ahead.

AlwaysWannaLearn
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:59 pm

.....
Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Gnirk
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Gnirk » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:14 pm

I am so sorry for the loss of your dad, and the resulting circumstances. I believe that anyone who is a beneficiary of the trust is supposed to receive a copy of the trust. Otherwise, it is private and in our state, doesn't go through the probate process. However, a will does and is a matter of public record.

i've seen this happen more often than I wish, where the will/trust is changed in favor of the second, or third, or fourth wife, and the husband's children are completely left out.
We only have a trust in California, that contains only one asset, which is our snowbird home. Our kids (his and mine all from previous marriage) know the details of that trust. DH as given his children a copy of his will, and I have given my children a copy of my will. They know how our assets are distributed upon our death, but not the value of those assets. Second marriage, so majority of our investments go to our respective children. DH and I both strongly believe in that. (we've been together over 30 years).

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:28 pm

Thank you all so much. Any advice is appreciated. Sorry forgot to mention my father's home and the trust was created in Ventura County, California.

Wide Right
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Wide Right » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:03 am

To reiterate,

#1 Make an appointment with a local Trusts & Estates lawyer.

#2 Search the Ventura County Recorder's office for evidence of the existence of a trust. Order copies of relevant documents. Here's their website:

Ventura County Recorder Grantor/Grantee Search

#3 Familiarize yourself with California Probate Code 16061.7 and 16061.5, both of which relate to the Trustee's duty to report.

From one victim of a cruel stepmother to another, good luck.

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munemaker
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by munemaker » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:08 am

If he was with your stepmother for 17 years, maybe he wanted to leave his estate to her. I understand why that would upset you (it would me), but that was his choice to make.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:32 am

Even if your step-mother is legally required to provide you with a copy of the trust, she may not do it. A trust is not like probate which has its own courts and enforcement. There is no independent enforcement for trusts, no state has a funded department of trust police who monitor and enforce such things. Hire an attorney to send her scary sounding letters as soon as you can. If you find she has withheld documentation or assets that you should have you can sue for them, but finding out may be quite a chore, and recovering the assets may not be possible.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this on top of your grief.

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:19 pm

Thank you all so much for taking the time to help and for your words of comfort. It seems we have had no luck at the recorder's office or any public database. Could only find deeds of houses but no lawyer information and no copy of trust. It appears trust are not made public..at least not in our case. spoke to a lawyer and it appears the best way to go is to try to get the information from the stepmother which has proven futile...

We are beyond disgusted at how this has turned out and our hearts go out to anyone who has been through this..especially you -"wide right"

AlwaysWannaLearn
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:35 pm

.....
Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

maria00200
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by maria00200 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:42 pm

Sorry for your loss. With all due respect, that is his wife and partner of almost 20 years. If he wanted to leave his estate to her, then so be it.

denovo
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by denovo » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:46 pm

fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Just a small glimpse into our horrific ordeal: We had to find out the date and location of our dad’s funeral on a website! When we have seen him every week for the last 6 months called him every day until his passing.

My father was married to my mother for 40+ years until her passing and then remarried his second wife for 17 years before his passing last week. He wanted to show us his trust several times but the wife would not allow it. He was afraid to go against her and we the children left it alone thinking that we didn't want to cause any problems and figured it will be shown at the appropriate time. We were naïve because upon his passing, she changed the locks on the doors and refused to speak to us. A complete 180 from when he was alive. He read the will to my sister a couple of years ago that he wanted to give us the house and other family heirlooms. We are lost now of what to do. We do not have a copy of the trust, nor the lawyer’s contact information who created the trust. We no longer have access to the home to get the items he left for us.

Does anyone know how to get information about the lawyer who created the trust? Is there a public database or some other way of getting it? Even if by some miracle we get the lawyer’s information. Will he or she give us the trust documents? We are afraid that time is of the essence and have no doubt that she will change or has changed the trust to leave everything to her family and sadly we don’t think we will find a way into the home before all of it is gone.. Please help..

OP. I understand you are in grief and anger, but let me blunt. Your father failed you.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by denovo » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:53 pm

fair4den wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:19 pm
Thank you all so much for taking the time to help and for your words of comfort. It seems we have had no luck at the recorder's office or any public database. Could only find deeds of houses but no lawyer information and no copy of trust. It appears trust are not made public..at least not in our case. spoke to a lawyer and it appears the best way to go is to try to get the information from the stepmother which has proven futile...

We are beyond disgusted at how this has turned out and our hearts go out to anyone who has been through this..especially you -"wide right"
Check the California Bar. Find lawyer certified in trusts/estates.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

maria00200
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by maria00200 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:02 am

denovo wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:46 pm
fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Just a small glimpse into our horrific ordeal: We had to find out the date and location of our dad’s funeral on a website! When we have seen him every week for the last 6 months called him every day until his passing.

My father was married to my mother for 40+ years until her passing and then remarried his second wife for 17 years before his passing last week. He wanted to show us his trust several times but the wife would not allow it. He was afraid to go against her and we the children left it alone thinking that we didn't want to cause any problems and figured it will be shown at the appropriate time. We were naïve because upon his passing, she changed the locks on the doors and refused to speak to us. A complete 180 from when he was alive. He read the will to my sister a couple of years ago that he wanted to give us the house and other family heirlooms. We are lost now of what to do. We do not have a copy of the trust, nor the lawyer’s contact information who created the trust. We no longer have access to the home to get the items he left for us.

Does anyone know how to get information about the lawyer who created the trust? Is there a public database or some other way of getting it? Even if by some miracle we get the lawyer’s information. Will he or she give us the trust documents? We are afraid that time is of the essence and have no doubt that she will change or has changed the trust to leave everything to her family and sadly we don’t think we will find a way into the home before all of it is gone.. Please help..

OP. I understand you are in grief and anger, but let me blunt. Your father failed you.
I disagree. When my father passed, he left everything to his wife of 30 years. My siblings and I did not expect anything and we understood. Why would he not give everything he have to his partner in life and why should I expect to get the house or anything? He gave us love and memories that I cherish and I’m happy with that.

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:05 am

You're right. wish he never read the trust to us and told us he put in writing that he wanted us to have the house and family heirlooms. Would have been better to hear the truth....

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:23 am

Makes me sick to my stomach that she can get more than what he wanted her to have..although we will never know because she has denied us a copy of the trust...

He had 70 years of his life filled with love and memories before her. We have loved him and continue to love and remember him..

Thank you to those that have been supportive..

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celia
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by celia » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:42 am

My father has been widowed twice and married for the third time in his 80s. We children are not interested in financially supporting the third wife if he pre-deceases her but have helped take care of her as we look in on him from time to time. We would rather our father's assets be used for her care, but he has set aside a certain amount of money for her and the rest divided among his kids. We are more of the mind that we will keep everything in his trust until she dies instead of distributing things then having to pay money back for her support. We are not just going to let her fend for herself when she is least able.


As far as locating the trust, an estate planning lawyer would know who the other lawyers might be and could call around for you (for a fee). But if it was created over 20 years ago, the original lawyer might not be around.

On another note, we recently updated our trust with a new lawyer in California. Afterwards we were asked to sign a statement as to whether we allowed or didn't allow the lawyer to respond to calls regarding the existence of our trust. I don't know if this is a new disclosure in California or not or what the default used to be.

One way to find out about the trust might be to go to the financial institutions where your dad had accounts. Explain to them that he has died and you don't know who the successor trustee is and someone is hiding the trust from you. Ask if their copy is on letterhead paper from a lawyer. This may put an alert on his accounts until the official trustee shows up with his death certificate and trust. They would have copies of some of the trust pages, but obviously the successor trustee could have been changed since the banks were given the original pages.

fair4den
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by fair4den » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:18 am

Thank you Celia for the advice. By the way, the things that he told us he wanted us to have is only 1/4 of his entire estate. His second wife is well taken care of...

To summarize and help others in our shoes we have tried and been unsuccessful

1) Looking up trust info at the recorder's office
2) Accountants and financial institutions
4) Previous lawyers used ( lawyer has passed long ago)
5) Estate attorney who thinks its better to try on our own first than to drain our bank accounts considering that the lawyers don't have an obligation to give us the trust info or respond...

I am glad to hear that you have a great plan to protect everyone involved...

denovo
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by denovo » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:07 am

fair4den wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:18 am
Thank you Celia for the advice. By the way, the things that he told us he wanted us to have is only 1/4 of his entire estate. His second wife is well taken care of...

To summarize and help others in our shoes we have tried and been unsuccessful

1) Looking up trust info at the recorder's office
2) Accountants and financial institutions
4) Previous lawyers used ( lawyer has passed long ago)
5) Estate attorney who thinks its better to try on our own first than to drain our bank accounts considering that the lawyers don't have an obligation to give us the trust info or respond...

I am glad to hear that you have a great plan to protect everyone involved...
Sorry, I just wanted to make it clear, what your father verbally told you is that 1/4 of the estate would go to children and 3/4 would go outright to the stepmother. What's the total value of the estate, I understand if you want to get specific though.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

denovo
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by denovo » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:13 am

maria00200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:02 am
denovo wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:46 pm
fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Just a small glimpse into our horrific ordeal: We had to find out the date and location of our dad’s funeral on a website! When we have seen him every week for the last 6 months called him every day until his passing.

My father was married to my mother for 40+ years until her passing and then remarried his second wife for 17 years before his passing last week. He wanted to show us his trust several times but the wife would not allow it. He was afraid to go against her and we the children left it alone thinking that we didn't want to cause any problems and figured it will be shown at the appropriate time. We were naïve because upon his passing, she changed the locks on the doors and refused to speak to us. A complete 180 from when he was alive. He read the will to my sister a couple of years ago that he wanted to give us the house and other family heirlooms. We are lost now of what to do. We do not have a copy of the trust, nor the lawyer’s contact information who created the trust. We no longer have access to the home to get the items he left for us.

Does anyone know how to get information about the lawyer who created the trust? Is there a public database or some other way of getting it? Even if by some miracle we get the lawyer’s information. Will he or she give us the trust documents? We are afraid that time is of the essence and have no doubt that she will change or has changed the trust to leave everything to her family and sadly we don’t think we will find a way into the home before all of it is gone.. Please help..

OP. I understand you are in grief and anger, but let me blunt. Your father failed you.
I disagree. When my father passed, he left everything to his wife of 30 years. My siblings and I did not expect anything and we understood. Why would he not give everything he have to his partner in life and why should I expect to get the house or anything? He gave us love and memories that I cherish and I’m happy with that.
I don't understand how your family's situation is in any way relevant. OP's father and mother (not the stepmother) lived together for 40 years. They built that wealth and estate together. I am sure if the topic came up, neither, and certainly not the mother envisioned the idea that the 2nd wife of a husband would run off with all the estate and leave their children out in the cold.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

gotester2000
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by gotester2000 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:15 am

To gain possession of title/accounts will the stepmother not need to show the trust documents to the respective institutions?

mouses
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by mouses » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:51 am

fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
He wanted to show us his trust several times but the wife would not allow it. He was afraid to go against her and we the children left it alone thinking that we didn't want to cause any problems and figured it will be shown at the appropriate time.
It sounds like your father was in his eighties and the above sounds like it's at least bordering on elder abuse.

With all the facts so far, it seems like she really is an Evil Stepmother, or she is terrified that the children will take money she may need to live on as she is perhaps elderly herself or at least unemployable.

If your father was afraid of her, I assume any trust or will was changed to leave everything to her. Attorney folk, I think there are some states where children are entitled to a portion of an estate, might that come into play here?

It is too bad that you can't have family mementos. Having been in a very stressful not quite similar situation, my thought is either (1) have an attorney contact her by letter requesting the mementos and promising that you will relinquish all claim to the rest of the estate if given the mementos, or (2) save yourself health-endangering stress and be glad you at least know where your father is buried.

bsteiner
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by bsteiner » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 am

mouses wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:51 am
... Attorney folk, I think there are some states where children are entitled to a portion of an estate, might that come into play here? ...
That's the case in many countries: https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issue ... 1_Tate.pdf.

delamer
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by delamer » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:02 am

bsteiner wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:30 am
mouses wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:51 am
... Attorney folk, I think there are some states where children are entitled to a portion of an estate, might that come into play here? ...
That's the case in many countries: https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issue ... 1_Tate.pdf.

I understand that this is a very general question(s), but I am confused about the children’s rights in the OP’s situation.

If there is a trust/will that provided some inheritance to the children, then the executor would be required by law to provide that information to the children. Correct?

But if the trust/will provided no inheritance for the children, then the executor does not need to provide any information to the children about the terms of the will/trust?

Does this vary by State?

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:22 am

If there is a trust, and the stepmother is the trustee, and the trust directs that funds/items go to the children, then the stepmother is obligated to follow those directions. But there is no independent enforcement. As the trustee, she can do what she wants and as long as no one else knows what she was supposed to do then no one can stop her. Banks and brokerages would just be custodians of the funds, they would not direct or oversee disbursement, that's up to the trustee.

That's why if you have a trust you should get copies to the beneficiaries while you are still able, because you can't make the successor trustees perform their duties if no one else knows what those duties are.

2pedals
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by 2pedals » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:31 am

I am so sorry for your loss and ordeal. My mother went through a similar situation when her father passed away. She was heart broken, again I am so sorry for you and your family.

Contact a family lawyer. I have little faith that your stepmother will ever respect your father's last wishes but maybe your family can get some restitution.

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celia
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by celia » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:47 am

OP, if one of you lives in the area, he should drive by the neighborhood occasionally, especially on Saturday mornings to see if there is a garage sale going on. That should be one way to get "mementos" at a bargain. Monitor Craigslist. If you have anything stored at the house or your dad had a copy of your birth certificate or baby photos, you are entitled to that. (I once went to an auction of contents of storage spaces where the renters had stopped paying rent and one of the rules they had was that anything identifiable such as family photos, driver's licenses, marriage certificates had to be returned after you went through everything.) Drive by at night after the weekly trash is put out and be prepared to to help yourself. If you are still friends with a neighbor, ask them to keep an eye out for things leaving the house and to call you.

randomguy
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by randomguy » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:59 am

munemaker wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:08 am
If he was with your stepmother for 17 years, maybe he wanted to leave his estate to her. I understand why that would upset you (it would me), but that was his choice to make.
We need a "Greedy kids want to put me out on the street thread". Or "Had to change locks because stepkids were breaking into house and stealing things".:) Or "My dead husband didn't want to tell the kids that he left the house to me. How do I let them know without coming across as cruel?".

To some extent, you shouldn't be talking family mementos from the house. What if they are left to someone else in the will? This is one of those areas where a couple hours of legal advice is worth the cost.

knort4
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by knort4 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:11 pm

Have your lawyer send a certified letter to the trustee (if you know who the trustee is) or to the wife (even if you don't know who the trustee is--maybe the wife is the trustee or she will most certainly forward the letter to her attorney or to the actual trustee) and your letter will ask for you to be sent a copy of the trust.

If you are named as beneficiaries in the trust, the law requires that the beneficiaries be notified. If you are not named as beneficiaries, then you will not be entitled to receive the document.

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Dottie57
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:14 pm

celia wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:42 am
My father has been widowed twice and married for the third time in his 80s. We children are not interested in financially supporting the third wife if he pre-deceases her but have helped take care of her as we look in on him from time to time. We would rather our father's assets be used for her care, but he has set aside a certain amount of money for her and the rest divided among his kids. We are more of the mind that we will keep everything in his trust until she dies instead of distributing things then having to pay money back for her support. We are not just going to let her fend for herself when she is least able.


As far as locating the trust, an estate planning lawyer would know who the other lawyers might be and could call around for you (for a fee). But if it was created over 20 years ago, the original lawyer might not be around.

On another note, we recently updated our trust with a new lawyer in California. Afterwards we were asked to sign a statement as to whether we allowed or didn't allow the lawyer to respond to calls regarding the existence of our trust. I don't know if this is a new disclosure in California or not or what the default used to be.

One way to find out about the trust might be to go to the financial institutions where your dad had accounts. Explain to them that he has died and you don't know who the successor trustee is and someone is hiding the trust from you. Ask if their copy is on letterhead paper from a lawyer. This may put an alert on his accounts until the official trustee shows up with his death certificate and trust. They would have copies of some of the trust pages, but obviously the successor trustee could have been changed since the banks were given the original pages.
You are very good people

protagonist
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by protagonist » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:25 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:11 pm
I would go right to a lawyer and I'm sure the lawyer can help get this worked out.
Exactly. Bypass this forum and hire a good lawyer. For a small investment in money and time he should be able to answer your questions I would think.

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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm

maria00200 wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:02 am
denovo wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:46 pm

OP. I understand you are in grief and anger, but let me blunt. Your father failed you.
I disagree. When my father passed, he left everything to his wife of 30 years. My siblings and I did not expect anything and we understood. Why would he not give everything he have to his partner in life and why should I expect to get the house or anything? He gave us love and memories that I cherish and I’m happy with that.
I believe what Denovo is referencing is the distribution of the will/trust to those involved, not the sentiment behind who gets what and the difference between written and "everything else" (i.e. verbal). All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts. Accounts that bypass probate have been communicated. This was all free or less than $100 I should say. On the flip side, if I don't have a copy of something written and notarized, I expect $0, but again, people can update it at anytime as well.

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FIREchief
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by FIREchief » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:43 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm
All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts.
Why would anybody need passwords to your accounts after your demise?? :confused
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:05 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:43 pm
deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm
All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts.
Why would anybody need passwords to your accounts after your demise?? :confused
It can cut down tremendously on the amount of time it takes to handle whatever needs to happen with the assets, you are at the mercy of the institution as to how fast they want to act. For them to have login info speeds things can up, a lot.

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munemaker
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by munemaker » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:22 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:05 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:43 pm
deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm
All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts.
Why would anybody need passwords to your accounts after your demise?? :confused
It can cut down tremendously on the amount of time it takes to handle whatever needs to happen with the assets, you are at the mercy of the institution as to how fast they want to act. For them to have login info speeds things can up, a lot.
Would using someone else's password, even if deceased, be a violation of the terms of service? Is it even legal to do this? Just feels wrong to me.

deltaneutral83
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:38 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:22 pm
deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:05 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:43 pm
deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm
All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts.
Why would anybody need passwords to your accounts after your demise?? :confused
It can cut down tremendously on the amount of time it takes to handle whatever needs to happen with the assets, you are at the mercy of the institution as to how fast they want to act. For them to have login info speeds things can up, a lot.
Would using someone else's password, even if deceased, be a violation of the terms of service? Is it even legal to do this? Just feels wrong to me.
You misinterpreted, the info is there to present to the institution to expedite instructions upon death if need be, not to use and withdraw and head to Vegas although the heirs will virtually be able to do as they wish which has also been discussed. There is a level of trust that is assumed in these dealings. The overall point is that it is virtually free to have your wishes carried out and have your heirs know in advance and carried out, the OP's situation is very sad and hopefully others will do what's necessary to avoid this.

TSR
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by TSR » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:44 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:22 am
If there is a trust, and the stepmother is the trustee, and the trust directs that funds/items go to the children, then the stepmother is obligated to follow those directions. But there is no independent enforcement. As the trustee, she can do what she wants and as long as no one else knows what she was supposed to do then no one can stop her. Banks and brokerages would just be custodians of the funds, they would not direct or oversee disbursement, that's up to the trustee.

That's why if you have a trust you should get copies to the beneficiaries while you are still able, because you can't make the successor trustees perform their duties if no one else knows what those duties are.
This is the right answer. Everyone who is saying that "the father can leave it to the stepmother if he wanted to" is correct but clearly not reading the OP -- the only evidence we have is that the father did NOT leave everything to the stepmother, and now the stepmother is is taking extreme, socially unconscionable efforts to keep the children out of the picture. OP, not informing you of the time and place of your father's funeral is utterly unforgivable, and I would proceed from the assumption that a human being who could do that is capable of any manner of legal wrongdoing. You need to get your lawyer moving ASAP. As another poster suggested, start with a demand letter and keep the pressure on. It is true that you may not be entitled to any information about a trust of which you are not a beneficiary, but you have enough evidence to demand proof of that.

For reference, I have a stepmother. My father has been clear about the provisions of his will -- all to my stepmother if he predeceases her, and then each of their wills provides that all remaining funds go evenly to me, my brother, and my stepbrother at the surviving spouse's death. I am fully aware that if my father predeceased my stepmother, she could change her will to provide the entire remaining estate only to my stepbrother. Likewise, if she predeceased him and then my father remarried, he could change his will to leave everything to his new wife. None of those scenarios is worth fighting over. But if my father remarried and told me somewhat shortly before he died that he had created a trust of which I was a beneficiary, and then my new stepmother didn't even tell me about the funeral and refused to give me any information about that trust, I would start a war.

Good luck, condolences for your loss, and please understand that you have every right to be very, very angry about all of this.

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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:34 pm

This entire scenario just reinforces my belief that there is great danger in folks not sharing the details of wills and trusts with those who would be a beneficiary and those charged to administer the provisions of a will or the successor trustee(s) of a trust.

IMHO, the lack of quality discussions can poison the survivor's relationships, not to mention defeat the express desires of a person's will and/or trust.

I was very fortunate as my father shared his estate desires with all of his children. Though I wouldn't have ignored his wishes, the fact that my siblings knew what was suppose to happen protected them, as well.

I don't get why there isn't more openness in these matters, but I suppose all families don't share the dynamics that make open communications possible.

It is really distressing to read of the issues OP is experiencing. Very sad for all involved.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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FIREchief
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by FIREchief » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:59 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:05 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:43 pm
deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm
All relevant parties to my death are notified and have copies of my will and instructions on how to retrieve passwords to other accounts.
Why would anybody need passwords to your accounts after your demise?? :confused
It can cut down tremendously on the amount of time it takes to handle whatever needs to happen with the assets, you are at the mercy of the institution as to how fast they want to act. For them to have login info speeds things can up, a lot.
I would expect the exact opposite. I would hope that my bank, brokerage, etc. would lock down my account access as soon as they knew I was dead. If there had been any access (even logins) after my demise, I would expect/hope that it would be turned over to their fraud department for investigation. Not sure how that would speed anything up.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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FIREchief
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by FIREchief » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:01 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:34 pm
I don't get why there isn't more openness in these matters, but I suppose all families don't share the dynamics that make open communications possible.
It can actually get quite sad. I know of elderly folks who have been convinced by their friends not to discuss anything with their children because "all the children want to do is to get their hands on the parent's money."
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

denovo
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by denovo » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:15 pm

fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Any update OP
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TSR
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Re: Trust Help From Cruel Stepmother

Post by TSR » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:23 pm

denovo wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:15 pm
fair4den wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:32 pm
Unfortunately I know this is a common situation and I am sooo sorry to read how devastated stepchildren are when the stepmother takes everything, especially when it was intended to go to the children.

Any update OP
I too would like to hear an update on this situation. Hope it's working out somehow.

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