Skip to main content

If a living trust does not designate a beneficiary, what happens after the person dies, does the co-trustee inherit?

Albany, NY |
Filed under: Trustee

Father died in Nevada, a new last minute will leaves entire estate to the co-trustees of a recently established living trust (co-trustees were the father and a son). No beneficiaries are documented in the trust. There are other children, he left household belongings to be divided. What happens now?
Is it possible to surviving co-trustee is hiding the beneficiaries page because he is the sole beneficiary?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This sounds like an unholy mess. You have documents which may or may not be valid amendments, depending on facts which are not covered in your summary. You have what you claim is a trust with no beneficiaries. (Unless this was a home-made document, I would be shocked if you are correct about that). You have possible issues of undue influence and you have a number of potential trust contestants, who were apparently left out.

    Your chances of figuring this out online are zero. You need top-notch legal assistance, and you need it right away. There are going to be figurative villagers with pitch-forks surrounding your villa before you know it. You need to know how to respond, before this situation starts getting ugly.

    If you do not know of a good lawyer, then you should click the "find a lawyer" link below, type in probate litigation and the location where the trust would be administered. It is not clear from your summary whether that would be New York or Nevada. My money would be on Nevada, but the trust document should clarify that issue.

    I am very sorry for your loss and the circumstances you now find yourself in.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** 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. I hope you our answer helpful!


  2. If your facts are accurate and the trust does not name beneficiaries-the beneficiaries would be determined by state statutes.
    Also-Anything is possible and your best choice would be to have an attorney advise you on this complicated case.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  3. Attorneys Frederick and Pippen are correct. Your best bet is to hire an experienced estate attorney to unwind this Gordian Knot. Good luck to you.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Wills and estates topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics