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What am I supposed to do after inheriting a living trust?

Duluth, MN |

My mother had a living trust and recently passed away. I am the beneficiary of her trust. Do I now own her property? Do I have to change everything under her name to mine? I'm not sure what to do.


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Attorney answers 4


Whether you need to do anything is dependent on who the trustee of your mother's trust is, now that she is gone. If you are the trustee, then you will need to administer the trust according to the terms of the trust. If someone else has been nominated as trustee, then that person will need to do so.

An attorney in your area would be able to review the document to tell you what your next steps should be.


Do you know who the trustee of the trust is? You should contact the trust and discuss the trust, its provisions for you, and the distribution plan. You may want to engage an experienced estate and trust attorney first, and then have your attorney join you for the discussion with the trustee. If you are the beneficiary of the trust, you are entitled to have a copy of the trust agreement, and an accounting that gives you a good picture of what the assets are.

If your mother's trust makes you the successor trustee, then even more you need to engage that experienced estate and trust attorney, get copies of the documents, accounting of the assets, and then have the attorney explain the trust and your options to you.

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The answers to these questions depend on a variety of factors. First, who is named as the successor trustee in her trust document? Second, what are the instructions in the trust as to payment of expenses of last illness, funeral expenses, liabilities and how the assets are to be distributed at her death? Third how are her assets titled. Are they all in the name of the trust or are some of her assets held personally. You should confer with an attorney experienced in trust and estate administration and review the trust document as well as all of your mother's assets and liabilities Then you will know how to proceed.

Mr. Henline is licensed to practice law in the state of Minnesota. He has prcaticed for nearly thirty years and his practice focuses in the areas of trusts, estate planning and probate, real property and small businesses. This does not create an attorney/client relationship. This does not constitue legal advice. The response is intended to provide general legal information. It is limited to facts of the question. You should consult an attorney in the appropriate state involved before making any decisions based on this answer.


I agree with the other attorneys, but I am not sure that your main questions were answered. Unless the trust provides that the assets are to be held in trust, then yes, title would need to be transfered before you would be the owner of the assets. Depending on the trust terms, it could be advantageous for you to maintain title in the trust, however, since this allows you some protection from creditors, as well as other situations, such as divorce.

BECAUSE you are uncertain as to how to proceed, you should contact an estate planning/probate attorney to advise you on what your best options are, at this point. You will also want to ask this attorney whether YOUR estate planning now needs to be adjusted and updated, in light of your inheritance.

James Frederick

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