Illinois. Revocable Trust. What to do: Elder Trustor wants 2 remove trustee but trustor does not have access to his own funds.

My grandfather is 93 y/o, wants to remove his trustee ( for being dishonest, for lack of loyalty, communication, fraud, etc). Trustee is my grandfather's son. My grandpa made contact with an attorney who is willing to help him BUT attorney wants X amount of $$ up front. My grandpa does not have access to his own funds, and he really wants to hire an attorney. What can my grandfather do? Also, trustee is to believe to have "re-arranged" Trust's funds and now my grandpa is under Medicaid when he does not really need it (fraud to Medicaid??). I am one of the beneficiaries, what can I do to help my grandfather? Please help!

Chicago, IL -

Attorney Answers (3)

Lawrence A Friedman

Lawrence A Friedman

Estate Planning Attorney - Bridgewater, NJ
Answered

Your grandfather can look for another lawyer who might require a smaller retainer or try a legal services office. Perhaps adult protective services would get involved if you call them. However, I suspect that your will have to hire private counsel if you really want to pursue this and that costs money.

Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.

Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law... more
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Charles Lawrence Huddleston III

Charles Lawrence Huddleston III

Trusts Attorney - Columbus, OH
Answered

Some of this will depend on your grandfather's level of mental accuity and clarity. If he is "sharp as a tack", he will find attorneys more agreeable to helping than if his capacity has declined.

For starters, you say this is a Revocable Trust. If your grandfather is clearly competent, it won't take a lawyer an hour to look at the trust and prepare an action by Trustor that terminates the offending trustee and appoints himself and/or someone else. That may start a war in which the misbehaving trustee tries to use trust funds to claim your grandfather is not competent, but if your grandfather fires his trustee and appoints someone else and goes to the bank with the new trustee, your grandfather will have control over that account.

Medicaid planning is quite common, even for persons having as much as a million dollars in assets. What is not clear is whether the Trustee took these actions on his own, or if your grandfather participated in the medicaid planning strategy and now has had a change of heart. This is very complex stuff, but if you interview a couple more estate planning experts, I think you can find someone to help you initially for a few hundred dollars.

The other option is to contact Illinois' version of "adult protective services" who will likely send an investigator to see if any improper behavior can be identified. If so, since your grandfather is now on Medicaid, you may be able to access low-cost or no-cost legal services.

Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus... more
Kelly Scott Davis

Kelly Scott Davis

Trusts Attorney - Cheyenne, WY
Answered

As Attorney Friedman points out, your grandfather can hire a different attorney. Search Avvo for an elder law attorney in his arewa or go to the website for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys www.naela.org. It would be extremely unlikely that your grandfather would qualify for Medicaid having a revocable trust. Under federal law such trusts are treated as available resources and he could only have $2000.

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