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Jeffrey L Crown
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Jeffrey Crown’s Answers

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  • How can I find out if I was a beneficiary or in my father's will?

    Can I contact someone? My half sister, who I hardly know, asked me for my address. She said it was for the lawyers. Aren't the lawyers suppose to contact me and not her?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    When someone dies, the Probate Court has to notify his or her heirs if an application is made to open an estate. your half sister could have been asked by the lawyers for your address in order to have the notice sent to you.

    You can contact the Probate Court in the county in which your father lived to see if an application has been made to open an estate. If someone has filed an application with a will, you can ask the court for a copy of the will. If you're not satisfied with the provisions of the will, you can speak with a local lawyer who can explain your rights to you.

    I hope that this helps.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

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  • Where can I find a form receipt for final distribution of a trust's assets by one of the beneficiaries?

    One beneficiary is receiving my mother's home as his distribution. He has obtained a mortgage and will be paying the trust the total difference in the value of his distribution vs. what the other 4 are receiving. There is no probate, but I want ...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    You need to have each of the beneficiaries sign a "receipt and release." This is a legal document which states that the beneficiaries received certain assets and are releasing the trustee from responsibility. That would probably be the only way to achieve finality.

    In order to fully protect yourself, you should hire a Florida lawyer who is experienced in trust law. This is not a "do it yourself" project.

    I'm not a Florida lawyer, and am just answering this on "general principles." This is neither an opinion nor does it create any attorney-client relationship.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

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  • Can an IRA be transfered after someone dies? My mother recently passed away and she has an IRA.

    Can that be transfered as an inhertiance IRA? I am the only benficary.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    All distributions from IRAs are taxable income. You might be able to save money by having the IRA continue for your benefit rather than have the assets distributed to you currently. The advantage of this is that you can let the account grown on a tax deferred basis. You would only have to withdraw,and be taxed on, what is called the "required minimum distribution" each year.

    The rules on inherited IRAs are quite complex. You should consult with a CPA or lawyer who has expertise in this area. You should not just take the word of an employee of the IRA custodian (bank, brokerage, etc.)

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  • I want to close my revocable trust. my bank wants to charge me $1500 if i do. if its my money how can they.?

    is this not similar to a savings account which i have never been charged to close?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Atty. Johnson is correct in that there is generally no fee to close out a bank account and that revoking a revocable trust should also be free of costs. Banks sometimes try to impose a "termination fee" when they're being removed as a trustee. Is the bank a trustee and are they trying to do this? If they are, did they provide you with a fee schedule which clearly states that there would be a termination fee? We've sometimes been able to have these fees abated by a court when we're removing a trustee. Still, it does seem strange in the context of a revocable trust.

    If you think that this is unfair and don't get a satisfactory answer, you might want to get it touch with your state's consumer banking commissioner or consumer protection agency.

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  • Lack of trustee

    What are some connecticut cases that clearly state that a trust can not fail for lack of trustee?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    I can't cite cases without doing the research. I've practiced exclusively trust and estate law for almost 40 years and can assure youthat this is what lawyers call "Black Letter Law." It is a universally accepted principle of trust law that is applicable in all common law jurisdictions.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

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  • Is there any way to set up a trust without a lawyer?

    I'd like to set up a trust for my estate but am hard pressed to pay someone $1300 to do it. Can I do it myself with the proper information?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Here's another example from the "Chamber of Horrors."

    People who want to obtain firearms that are subject to the National Firearms Act of 1934 often use a Trust to acquire them for a number of reasons.

    ome people have tried to "cheap it" and use "trusts" offered by on-line providers. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has sometimes demanded that the items be surrendered because the so-called "trust" was invalid. We do NFA Trusts for Connecticut residents that have all of the required provisions. Our website is www.CTGunLawyer.com. For non-Connecticut people, see Atty. David Goldman's site: www.GunTrustLawyer.com

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

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  • Esablishing a trust

    what are the Fundamentals for establishing a trust and terminating a trust? And Once the principal of a trust is distributed does it still exist? Can a Trust exist with out a trustee?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Let's take your question apart and answer it one part at a time.

    In order to create a valid trust, there must be, (1) the intention to create a trust and to create a fiduciary relationship; (2) at least one ascertainable beneficiary other than the creator of the trust and (3) a "trust corpus" -- assets subject to the trust relationship. Sometimes this 3d element is satisfied by having the trust named as a beneficiary under a will, life insurance policy or retirement plan.

    Once a trust is created, unless it it revocable, it can only be terminated in CT if all of the parties in interest seek the termination, if all of the trust purposes have been fulfilled and no intent of the trust's creator (Settlor) is being frustrated. See the CT Supreme Court case of Adams v. Link. This could be different in a state that has adopted the Uniform Trust Code.

    If all of the principal is PROPERLY distributed, the trust may terminate. But it can continue in existence if the trust is named as a beneficiary under a will, etc. [see above].

    There is a maxim of trust law that "a trust will not fail for lack of a trustee." If there is no trustee office and no mechanism to replace him or her in the trust document, a court will appoint a successor trustee.

    I hope that this makes sense to you.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER

    Atty. Crown is licensed to practice law in Connecticut with an office in Rocky Hill. His phone number is 860-257-4330 and his email address is jlcrown@trustlawyer.com.

    This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is only a form of legal education. It is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make the reply unsuitable. Atty. Crown strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

    Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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  • Trust

    Can you have a trust that gives the trustee power at anytime, or from time to time, during the life of the benificiary to pay the benificiary "so much of the net income or principal or both, whether the whole or lesser amount, as the trustee sha...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Let's take your question apart and answer it in order.

    Giving a trustee the discretion to distribute assets at any time is fairly common. Most of the time, trustees are given "standards," under which to exercise their discretion. These standards include making distributions for a beneficiary's "health, education, maintenance and support" [commonly referred to as "ascertainable standards"] and others, such as "comfort," "general welfare" and "happiness." These are "non-ascertainable standards". The most common type of trust that does not have any discretionary standards is a "special needs trust" to provide for a beneficiary who is, or may be, the beneficiary of public programs.

    The fact that the trust is irrevocable leads me to believe that it was created for some tax reason. Without more facts, I can't say more than that. I doubt that it is irrevocable merely because it is to receive a pour over distribution under someone's will.

    If the trust is "de-funded" by having all of the assets distributed, it would not be invalid for purposes of receiving a pour over distribution. Connecticut has enacted the "Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act.." This statute provides that a pour over provision in a will or the designation of the trust as a beneficiary of life insurance, retirement assets, etc., provides a "corpus" for the trust so the trust would be valid,

    I hope that this helps.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER

    Atty. Crown is licensed to practice law in Connecticut with an office in Rocky Hill. His phone number is 860-257-4330 and his email address is jlcrown@trustlawyer.com.

    This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is only a form of legal education. It is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make the reply unsuitable. Atty. Crown strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

    Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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  • Does an Executrix have the power to prevent a beneficiary named in a will access to personal papers of the deceased?

    My Dad passed away in Feb. 2011. My sister was designated as Executrix of the will. The beneficiaries named in the will would like access to Dad's personal papers but have been threatened with arrest if we even go near his house. The beneficiar...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Threatening you with arrest is extreme. You might want to ask the Probate Court to schedule a "status conference" at which the executor has to appear. The executor owes duties of care to the beneficiaries and any creditors. She cannot unilaterally deny you access to your father's personal papers.

    You should contact a lawyer who spends most of his or her time on estate and trust issues and ask him or her to speak with the executor's lawyer. If that conversation isn't fruitful, then your lawyer can request a status conference. if, as a result of that conference, it becomes clear that the executor is not acting properly, then you might be able to have her removed.

    Removing executors is difficult [see Ct. General Statutes 45a-242[, but certainly not impossible if the executor is breaching his or her duties.

    I hope that this is helpful.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER

    Atty. Crown is licensed to practice law in Connecticut with an office in Rocky Hill. His phone number is 860-257-4330 and his email address is jlcrown@trustlawyer.com.

    This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is only a form of legal education. It is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make the reply unsuitable. Atty. Crown strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

    Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

    See question 
  • Vesting in Connecticut

    My grandmothers will creates a trust, with interest income for her spouse, then upon his death divided and placed in successor trusts (specifically named in the will), grandmas children are interest beneficiaries and grandchildren are remainder pr...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    This provision is called a "power in trust.' It applies when an asset vests in someone who is under age 21. I'm assuming that the draftsman of this will provided that, after a grandchild's lifetime, his or her share would pass to his or her then living issue. The words "then living:" are important if any grandchild has predeceased his or her parent.

    Assuming that, when a grandchild died or dies, none of his or her children were deceased or that the draftsman used the words "then living," the assets of the trust vest at that time in the grandchildren. This is the ONLY time when assets of this trust "vest."

    If any grandchild is under age 21 when assets vest in him or her, the provision you quoted applies. It allows the trustee to postpone distribution of a grandchild's share until he or she is 21. In the meantime, the trustee could pay for a grandchild's education support and general welfare. I hope that those words are defined in the will because the words "general welfare" do not have a precise meaning.

    I hope that this helps.

    Jeffrey L. Crown
    Trustlawyer, LLC
    21 New Britain Ave.
    Rocky Hill, CT
    www.trustlawyer.com

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