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Any protection for beneficiaries when ONE of four children used undue influence on Surviving Trustor to raid trust?

Jamestown, NY |

My father died in 2000--trust established ($650k to decedent's B trust, remainder to mother's A trust--$3,000,000). Now, NOTHING is left in A trust. We quit claimed mother's house in 2008 to four children (brother & I are co-successor trustees)--for Medicaid Planning. Mother diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago but it started in 2005. My brother used unfair influence and pressure to raid A trust. Now he's suing me for breach of fiduciary duty because I distributed rental income (allowed by trust for financial desperation of heirs). Mother has ample income for care--I got her VA Pension but didn't touch the funds until being named fiduciary. BUT my BROTHER WAS! Now he alleges I stole the VA money (11k) and didn't return it. Banker signed statements proving otherwise. Please help!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Your question is beyond the scope of this forum. All anyone can do, here, is to give you information and general guidance. YOU need someone who can review all the facts of your highly complex situation, determine where you stand, and come up with a plan of action. If you are being sued for breach of fiduciary duties, as trustee, then the trust would pay for your legal defense. You should not deal with this matter without a lawyer. You cannot afford to NOT have a lawyer. It sounds like there is plenty of money to go around, here. Depending on what happened, you may have no liability at all, or you may have significant liability. Get the legal help you need!

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

  2. Mr. Frederick is correct. This forum is not going to be able to provide you the guidance and direction you need. You need a trust litigation attorney, and you need one sooner rather than later. The trust seems to be sufficiently funded, that's a good thing as it will pay your legal fees as a trustee.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

  3. What kind of help are you looking for here? Your brother hired a lawyer to sue you; you need to hire one as well.

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