My aunt set up a living trust with her cousin as a co-trustee. Her cousin's lawyer is handling the living trust. Her cousin has been misusing the money in the trust. He also forced my aunt to close all her bank accounts and took away those money, claiming to put it into the trust. My aunt now has no bank account and she has to beg him for grocery money $100 increment at a time. The cousin also took away all living trust documents and financial papers from my aunt's house. My aunt wants back the control of the living trust, and remove her cousin from the trustee position, but the cousin's lawyer claims that my aunt resigned from the living trust 5 months ago and cannot control the living trust any more. How can my aunt take back her money in the trust?
Estate Planning Attorney
It depends on the language in the trust.
If the trust can be amended anytime by the settlor-
she can change it again to make herself or someone of her choice
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.
Estate Planning Attorney
If the trust is revocable (or amendable), your aunt can either amend the trust or if she prefers she can revoke it. In California, a trust is revocable and amendable unless specifically declared to be irrevocable. Your aunt should go see an estate planning lawyer about regaining control of her assets.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS GENERAL IN NATURE. IT IS NOT INTENDED, NOR SHOULD IT BE CONSTRUED, AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY FOR SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION.
I agree with the answer of Attorney Symons. If revocable, your aunt can remove the current trustee and designate herself as the new trustee or revoke the trust and require all trust property be transferred to her.
Before doing anything, though, she needs to go over the trust with an attorney experienced in trusts and trust administration to determine her options are available. She can find a lawyer through Avvo's "Find a Lawyer." Alternatively, she may want to contact the Los Angeles County Bar's referral program.
This office is licensed to practice law only in the state of California. The answer provided above is for general information only, is not intended and should not be taken as specific legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship with the party making the inquiry.