Can my stepmother change my fathers Will and his Trust, if she is the executor on the estate?

Asked about 1 year ago - Los Angeles, CA

We are in California. They were married for 3 years when my father died. He left her most of his assets but he specified one piece of income property was to be for his adult children. He had a Trust, but I am not sure if it is a revocable or irrevocable Trust. He made her the executor of his estate and she seems to be trying to take everything. We have not been able to see the Will, and has changed lawyers from the one that set up the Will and Trust for my father. She is acting very secretive and we don't know what are rights are or what to do.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Charles Richard Perry

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Your stepmother could not change your father's will. The terms of the trust will dictate whether she has the power to change it.

    If you are a beneficiary under the trust, you are entitled to a copy of the trust document. You may need to hire a trusts and estates attorney to write to your stepmother and ask for a copy, and to make sure that you get any share of the estate to which you and your siblings are entitled.

    You should not delay acting on this.

  2. Christine James

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    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Mr. Perry is correct. One additional point. If it has been more than 60 days since your father's passing, your step mother is in violation of Probate Code Section 16061.7 which REQUIRES her to provide copies to beneficiaries within 60 days of the likely irrevocability of your father's trust (usually irrevocable at death). If she is being secretive now, that is not likely going to change unless you force her hand. A letter from an attorney reminding her of her obligations usually does the trick.

  3. Michael Raymond Daymude

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    Answered . I am sorry for your loss. You have remedies but to exercise them you need to consult and retain an attorney to review the Will and declaration of trust to advise you. If you have not seen the documents, I wonder how you know that one piece of income property was to go to your father's adult children. The trust would become irrevocable upon your father's death. Since the trustee has an attorney it should not be difficult to "get to the bottom of this" in fairly short order once you retain counsel.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  4. Steven M Zelinger

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Mr. Perry's answer really could not be better.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is... more
  5. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . You have a right to a copy of the Trust. If the property was left in trust for the adult child, then its most likely in an irrevocable trust following your dad's death. You can also demand an account of the irrevocable trust either under PC Section 16061 (information not an account but almost the equivalent) or PC Section 16062 depending on the rights in the trust.

    You should seek out Trust Litigation counsel immediately.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or... more
  6. Daniel Mcgraw Little

    Contributor Level 11

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The documents need to be reviewed by an experienced Estate Planning Attorney. There are a plethora of issues that could affect the validity of the document and its administration.

    No legal representation exists by virtue of this answer. It is recommended that you contact an attorney directly... more

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