Does a lawyer have fiduciary duties to client/family to change irrevokeable trust to heir after clients death?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

My grandparents had a trust that stated that all bonds, estate and commercial property were to stay in the family in the event of death of one of the beneficiaries. Can the same lawyer change heirs without permission of the other beneficiaries? Did the lawyer have a fiduciary duty to uphold our grandparents wishes?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. 6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is not possible to answer your question without reviewing the trust document, and what exactly the attorney supposedly did to "change heirs."

    I suggest you take the trust document to an estates and trusts attorney, have it reviewed, and get some specific advice on your rights. It is not possible to provide specific advice in this forum. There are many fine attorneys who practice trusts and estates law on AVVO.

  2. 4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Agree with colleagues. You need to review the trust. If you need an attorney, go to the Sacramento Bar for a referral -

    Mr.Scalise offers a FREE consultation; he may be reached at 805-244-6850 or by email ( more
  3. 2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Irrevocable trusts normally are modified. The trust normally has the distribution provisions and processes.

    Keeping property "in the family" may have issues especially if it is a restraint on alienation... I recommend you see an attorney

    This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-... more
  4. Answered . Your question raises a couple of issues. First, the lawyer would have no power to change anything after your grandparents death. That said, if the lawyer was named as trustee, or hired by the trustee to represent the trustee, the lawyer would be able to act or assist in carrying out the terms of the trust.

    Generally, the attorney does not owe any duties to the beneficiaries. That said, if the attorney is aiding the trustee in violating the trust, the attorney could have liability.

    Also, regarding holding assets. Even if the trust directs certain assets to continue to be held in trust, the Trustee has a duty to diversify and manage the assets. To carry out that duty, the trustee may have to sell assets and buy other assets if they believe such conduct prudent.

    I hope that helps. You really should seek out an attorney to assist and advise you, more than just asking questions on an online board.

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

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Trust beneficiaries

A trust beneficiary is a person or other legal entity (like a charity) that is named in the trust documents as being entitled to benefits from the trust.

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