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Steven Matlin Greenwood

Steven Greenwood’s Answers

97 total


  • Mom just passed at the hospital. Have trust document and a long list of to do's. What should come first or how to prioritize?

    Mortuary has been contacted and Dr is doing death cert. Ali accounts included my name, daughter, sole survivor, and trust also included my name. I assume still have to switch home utility bills. Reverse Mort on home and need to pay that to kee...

    Steven’s Answer

    Please accept my condolences over the loss of your mother. Unless you have a comfort level educating yourself over all of the items required during the trust administration you have begun, I strongly recommend you seek legal counsel to guide you through the process. Aside from that with which you are already familiar (and assuming the living trust has now become irrevocable), statutory notice should be given to all heirs and beneficiaries, declaration must be filed with the county in which real estate is located, a new certificate of trust should be created (showing you as the successor trustee), etc. I hope this was helpful.

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  • I would like to know what part of an intervivos trust gets recorded? Does the whole content of the trust recorded or just the

    I need to know if the whole content on a trust gets recorded or just the grant deed putting the property on the trust?

    Steven’s Answer

    Generally speaking the intervivos trust is never recorded; to the contrary, one of the attractive components of the living trust is its privacy. The grant deed conveying real property, which should generally be recorded, is not part of the trust agreement itself; it is merely the document that transfers the real property into the trust in question. Hope that helps.

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  • Four little children will soon be wards of the State Of Florida.Dad died 4 years ago 10 million estate in California.

    If the mother does not get housing for her children in two months.The state will take the children tell they are 18.The trustee's had everyone removed.Dad signed a third amendment saying to treat us all like dead children.It does not look like his...

    Steven’s Answer

    You need legal counsel NOW. I could not fully understand your situation from your posting but it appears that fraud is in the mix. The only way to sort this out would be before a judge. Act now and hope it is not too late.

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  • My husband passed away and his IRA is now combined with mine. Who should I name as the beneficiaries?

    should I name the trust? or each daughter individually? The trust was drawn in florida and I now live in California.Worried about the tax consequences upon my passing.

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question requires substantial analysis in relation to the trust document and your overall plan. The simple rule is that if you want the heirs to control the IRA directly, name the heir(s) as the beneficiary. If you want the trust to control the distribution of the cash, name the trust. Which is better depends upon a number of factors, e.g. does the trust provide for the management of IRA dollars adequately, do you seek continued asset protection and management of the IRA dollars, do you prefer your heirs have more direct control? Speak with an estate planning attorney and your financial advisor to help you with this. Your decision could have consequences you won't like if you do not have good counsel on this important question. Good luck.

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  • What are the the legal responsibilities of a fiduciary to beneficIaries? Is there a time limit for paying beneficiaries?

    Real estate property being held in trust and used by one beneficiary.

    Steven’s Answer

    One who is a "fiduciary" or has a fiduciary duty is obliged to maintain the highest level of responsibility the law imposes to the beneficiaries on whose behalf they act. Duties may include prudent management, appropriate accounting, timely payout, etc. but will depend upon the specific situation/fact pattern. As for a time limit for paying beneficiaries,it will depend upon the specific payment in question, i.e. is it merely income received or distribution of principal? If it relates to real estate being held in trust, the fiduciary must manage the property for the benefit of ALL beneficiaries. Thus the one beneficiary receiving benefit from the real estate should be paying rent, unless there is some overriding factor that would dictate to the contrary. Basically the answer to your question is fact specific. See an attorney for more viable counsel.

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  • I am co-trustee of my mother's living will. The other co-trustee will not let me see the trust. Can I ask her lawyer for a copy?

    The other co-trustee will not let me see my 95 yr. old mother, who has dementia. She is ill. I'm her only living daughter. She & her companion (co-trustee) are not married. I cannot ask her for a copy of the trust. I have a feeling he wants her t...

    Steven’s Answer

    I am going to begin by assuming that when you spoke of your "mother's living will" you were speaking of her revocable living trust. You stated that your mother has dementia. Has it progressed to the point of incapacity? In your circumstance, I think it would be fine to initiate a conversation with the lawyer who drafted the living trust. If you are co-trustee, he may be willing, after speaking with your mother (his client) to give you a copy with her permission. Conversely, he may not be willing to do so without her permission, which can no longer be given if she is incapacitated. If you believe your mother is being abused, you might consider alerting Adult Protective Services. If you are unable to get relief in any other way, you might have to bring a petition before the court. Good luck.

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  • What kind of attorney would be able to prevent brother from stealing both houses left in a living trust

    brother is executor but trying to steal both houses . he lives in one and rents out the second while i am living in a truck camper w/ denied access to water and bathroom. and rents out the other house that i do not see a penny of because it goes i...

    Steven’s Answer

    The simple answer is that you must retain a trust/probate litigator. You have certain rights that must be protected (assuming the creator of the trust has passed away) e.g. the right to see a copy of the trust, the rights to distribution and the right to a reaonable periodic accounting (if you are a beneficiary of the trust), etc. Call you local bar association for a referral. Good luck.

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  • Can the beneficiaries elect a new successor Trustee if there is a vacancy in the position, without court approval?

    Under Probate Code 15640(c) A trustee may resign with the consent of all adult beneficiaries who are receiving or are entitled to receive income under the trust or to receive a distribution of principal if the trust were terminated at the time co...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Section 15660 (b) of the CA Probate Code states that one should first look to the trust document regarding trustee replacement. If language regarding to this issue is NOT present, then, under sub-section (c), the unanimous vote of the beneficiaries for a "trust company" to take over will be effective. If neither possibility exists, a court petition will likely be requried. The answer to your question is YES, if you all can agree on a specific trust company who will accept the responsibility. Hope this was helpful.

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  • Do we have to hire the trustee and pay fees? if yes how much normally

    In the deed of trust there is a third party called trustee, if this trust deed is between two individuals involving real estate as collateral, how do we normally find and hire trustee and how much cost is involved in trustee hiring??

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Normally, the trustee named in a deed of trust will be a title company who, as part of its business, will act as the foreclosing agent in the event of non-payment. Virtually all trust companies have a form trust deed on their websites which name them as trustee, and allow you to fill in the blanks as appropriate. There is NO fee attached to the use of the form or naming the title company as trustee, UNTIL you seek foreclosure. But be careful, it is REALLY easy to make a mistake and unless you are experienced in this arena I strongly urge you to seek legal counsel in the preparation and recordation of this document. One wrong move and you could cloud title that might require court action to remedy. Good luck.

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  • My spouse is on title to a home with his elderly parent. If the parent passes away, will the home be held up

    for any legal reason from selling right away? The parent has a will and everything is left to my spouse who is an only child. They reside in California. Thank you!

    Steven’s Answer

    The answer to your question depends upon the manner in which title is held. If it shows no specific title form or if it shows tenants in common, probate will likely be necessary, delaying the sale you seek. If the property is held as joint tenants, with the filing of the proper affidavit with the county recorder, a sale could be facilitated quickly. There are several caveats to this answer which require more info. Seek legal counsel before you do anything.

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