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Steven Matlin Greenwood

Steven Greenwood’s Answers

95 total


  • Four little children will soon be wards of the State Of Florida.Dad died 4 years ago 10 million estate in California.

    If the mother does not get housing for her children in two months.The state will take the children tell they are 18.The trustee's had everyone removed.Dad signed a third amendment saying to treat us all like dead children.It does not look like his...

    Steven’s Answer

    You need legal counsel NOW. I could not fully understand your situation from your posting but it appears that fraud is in the mix. The only way to sort this out would be before a judge. Act now and hope it is not too late.

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  • My husband passed away and his IRA is now combined with mine. Who should I name as the beneficiaries?

    should I name the trust? or each daughter individually? The trust was drawn in florida and I now live in California.Worried about the tax consequences upon my passing.

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question requires substantial analysis in relation to the trust document and your overall plan. The simple rule is that if you want the heirs to control the IRA directly, name the heir(s) as the beneficiary. If you want the trust to control the distribution of the cash, name the trust. Which is better depends upon a number of factors, e.g. does the trust provide for the management of IRA dollars adequately, do you seek continued asset protection and management of the IRA dollars, do you prefer your heirs have more direct control? Speak with an estate planning attorney and your financial advisor to help you with this. Your decision could have consequences you won't like if you do not have good counsel on this important question. Good luck.

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  • What are the the legal responsibilities of a fiduciary to beneficIaries? Is there a time limit for paying beneficiaries?

    Real estate property being held in trust and used by one beneficiary.

    Steven’s Answer

    One who is a "fiduciary" or has a fiduciary duty is obliged to maintain the highest level of responsibility the law imposes to the beneficiaries on whose behalf they act. Duties may include prudent management, appropriate accounting, timely payout, etc. but will depend upon the specific situation/fact pattern. As for a time limit for paying beneficiaries,it will depend upon the specific payment in question, i.e. is it merely income received or distribution of principal? If it relates to real estate being held in trust, the fiduciary must manage the property for the benefit of ALL beneficiaries. Thus the one beneficiary receiving benefit from the real estate should be paying rent, unless there is some overriding factor that would dictate to the contrary. Basically the answer to your question is fact specific. See an attorney for more viable counsel.

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  • I am co-trustee of my mother's living will. The other co-trustee will not let me see the trust. Can I ask her lawyer for a copy?

    The other co-trustee will not let me see my 95 yr. old mother, who has dementia. She is ill. I'm her only living daughter. She & her companion (co-trustee) are not married. I cannot ask her for a copy of the trust. I have a feeling he wants her t...

    Steven’s Answer

    I am going to begin by assuming that when you spoke of your "mother's living will" you were speaking of her revocable living trust. You stated that your mother has dementia. Has it progressed to the point of incapacity? In your circumstance, I think it would be fine to initiate a conversation with the lawyer who drafted the living trust. If you are co-trustee, he may be willing, after speaking with your mother (his client) to give you a copy with her permission. Conversely, he may not be willing to do so without her permission, which can no longer be given if she is incapacitated. If you believe your mother is being abused, you might consider alerting Adult Protective Services. If you are unable to get relief in any other way, you might have to bring a petition before the court. Good luck.

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  • What kind of attorney would be able to prevent brother from stealing both houses left in a living trust

    brother is executor but trying to steal both houses . he lives in one and rents out the second while i am living in a truck camper w/ denied access to water and bathroom. and rents out the other house that i do not see a penny of because it goes i...

    Steven’s Answer

    The simple answer is that you must retain a trust/probate litigator. You have certain rights that must be protected (assuming the creator of the trust has passed away) e.g. the right to see a copy of the trust, the rights to distribution and the right to a reaonable periodic accounting (if you are a beneficiary of the trust), etc. Call you local bar association for a referral. Good luck.

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  • Can the beneficiaries elect a new successor Trustee if there is a vacancy in the position, without court approval?

    Under Probate Code 15640(c) A trustee may resign with the consent of all adult beneficiaries who are receiving or are entitled to receive income under the trust or to receive a distribution of principal if the trust were terminated at the time co...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Section 15660 (b) of the CA Probate Code states that one should first look to the trust document regarding trustee replacement. If language regarding to this issue is NOT present, then, under sub-section (c), the unanimous vote of the beneficiaries for a "trust company" to take over will be effective. If neither possibility exists, a court petition will likely be requried. The answer to your question is YES, if you all can agree on a specific trust company who will accept the responsibility. Hope this was helpful.

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  • Do we have to hire the trustee and pay fees? if yes how much normally

    In the deed of trust there is a third party called trustee, if this trust deed is between two individuals involving real estate as collateral, how do we normally find and hire trustee and how much cost is involved in trustee hiring??

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Normally, the trustee named in a deed of trust will be a title company who, as part of its business, will act as the foreclosing agent in the event of non-payment. Virtually all trust companies have a form trust deed on their websites which name them as trustee, and allow you to fill in the blanks as appropriate. There is NO fee attached to the use of the form or naming the title company as trustee, UNTIL you seek foreclosure. But be careful, it is REALLY easy to make a mistake and unless you are experienced in this arena I strongly urge you to seek legal counsel in the preparation and recordation of this document. One wrong move and you could cloud title that might require court action to remedy. Good luck.

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  • My spouse is on title to a home with his elderly parent. If the parent passes away, will the home be held up

    for any legal reason from selling right away? The parent has a will and everything is left to my spouse who is an only child. They reside in California. Thank you!

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question depends upon the manner in which title is held. If it shows no specific title form or if it shows tenants in common, probate will likely be necessary, delaying the sale you seek. If the property is held as joint tenants, with the filing of the proper affidavit with the county recorder, a sale could be facilitated quickly. There are several caveats to this answer which require more info. Seek legal counsel before you do anything.

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  • Is it possible to set up a living trust without a lawyer?

    I'd like to understand in detail how to set up a living trust - and to understand the tax benefits. I don't have the money to go to an attorney, CPA, or anything like that, but want to make sure I leave something for my daughter. Is it at all pos...

    Steven’s Answer

    Clearly, any intelligent individual can learn enough about any subject to muddle through if they have the time to do it, and even then the results would be questionable. There are self help possibilities, e.g. We the People or Legal Zoom. But please be aware that all you are buying with these services is paper...they cannot legally give you nor will they give you counsel/advice. I would NEVER recommend using a service of this nature but if you refuse to pay for counsel (from a competent estate planning attorney), these options are second best, If you don't want to pay for this paperwork, you can get it for FREE at the law library. But remember, what you are getting from the library or a legal forms prep service is PAPER ONLY...legal counsel is what you should be getting, and that is not free. Other than law school, I am not aware of any educational service to teach you how to create and understand the law of trusts. There may be a "Dummies" book, I suppose. I hope this helps.

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  • If one house is to be sold and equally distibuted to 3 heirs does that money need to be deposited in a trust account

    there are 3 kids each kid gets 1 house and the fourth house is to be sold

    Steven’s Answer

    Your question really requires more information. Let's assume that we are dealing with a living trust where the creator of the trust has passed away and the trustee is now attempting to administer the trust under its terms. Please bear in mind that that succesor trustee ( i.e. the new trustee in charge) has a FIDUCIARY duty to the beneficiaries of the trust and will be held responsible for any and all wrong doing, whether intentional or not. With that in mind, I would recommend that the trustee be as transparent as possbile and maintain a detailed paper trail regarding all transactions. That rule would require that the house sale proceeds be placed in a trust account for further disposition, whether payment of bills, distribution to heirs or otherwise.

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