i was hurt really bad at work and as a result i was awarded a settlement, now ive never been good with money so my mom aproached me about putting half of my money in a trust,i agreed and things were fine for a while my mom gave me a weekly allowance out of the trust to live off of, and now because of a fight we got in i havent recieved payment in months, i wanna change my trustee to someone thats not emotionally involved. could my mom spend my money on herself? can i change trustee? i feel like my money was hiacked by someone i shoulda trusted.
Elder Law Attorney
I'm sorry you have such troubles.
As a trustee, your mother has a duty to you to handle the trust in an impartial manner, to give you a copy of the trust and to give you an account once a year. The only way you can change the trustee is if the trust gives you that authority.
If your mother is misusing her authority, you can ask the Probate Court to remove her as trustee and replace her with someone else. I suggest that you meet with an estate planning attorney to review the terms of the trust and discuss your options.
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
Elder Law Attorney
Attorney Golden's response is spot on. I only wanted to add that it is unlikely that your mother has the authority to spend money on herself. Assuming that you were an adult when you set the trust up, there is no reason why you would give authority to the trustee to distribute property to anyone other than yourself or for your benefit.
It might go without saying, but before you go to an attorney to review the trust and the terms, I would suggest trying to open up a dialogue with your mother. There could be things going on that you are unaware of. Regardless, she has a duty to you as the beneficiary, to execute her job as trustee. If she cannot perform those responsibilies, then she may need, and could very well want, to resign. Good Luck.
Family Law Attorney
I agree with both answers. Try talking to her, but if it doesn't work, you can go to the Probate Court. She cannot spend the money on herself - the money is there for your benefit, and if she was misusing funds, that would be strong grounds for her removal by the Court.
As others have said, the terms of the trust control, and whether you are required to get a monthly allowance is different from an arrangment the two of you informally worked out, so it is very important to know the trust language and what it requires her to do. Merely not getting along with her may not be sufficient for the Court to remove her, but that will depend on the circumstances of what the trust requires and what she is doing or not doing in light of those requirements.