My grandfather passed a few years back and my cousin was named trustee of the revocable trust. Some funds were paid to us beneficiaries initially. We decided to wait to sell my grandfathers home until the market rebounded. My cousin sold the home last year w/o notifying any beneficiaries. Found out she was charged with meth trafficking, then sold the home one month after she was arrested. She is currently in a 120 day shock program in Missouri doc. Pretty sure she has spent most of the money over the last year as she admitted she had been using meth right up until she was sentenced last month. If there is any money left, she has no intention of sharing it with the beneficiaries. She hasn't answered any calls from us over the last year, and minimal texting has turned out to be all lies from her. The home was in Vegas, the address on the last check I received was for an old address in Vegas from Bank of America , I live in Denver, and my cousin resides in Missouri. I'd like to move fast before she would have an opportunity to have a friend transfer money out of any accounts that may still contain funds.
Missouri is the obvious location to file. You might be able to make a case for Las Vegas if there was some benefit to that. Colorado would not be an appropriate venue based on what you described.
You can do anything without an attorney, but what you are proposing is not simple. You should at least consult with an attorney even if you intend to represent yourself. Keep in mind that if you choose to represent yourself you have a lot of learning to do. You will be held to the same standards as an experienced attorney.
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I’m sorry you’re going through this situation—it is certainly a difficult one. If you have a copy of the trust document, it would be useful to consult it for a choice of law provision. Most trusts state under what laws the trust is to be administered/governed.
That said, you should consult with a local attorney who specializes in trust administration to determine the best course of action. Substantively, it seems that you have a solid case here for breach of fiduciary duty and grounds to recover stolen funds. It is important, however, to make an evidentiary showing of these facts. That will probably be your primary obstacle. But if the trustee has an arrest record, and the record of the house sale, and can force production of the trust account bank statements, you should have a relatively easy time of showing not only that the trustee should be removed, but that funds were stolen/misused. Again, however, you should definitely speak with a trust administration attorney to determine where to bring suit and figure out case strategy. Best of luck to you.
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