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Trustee is ignoring all terms of my trust

Discussion in 'Estate Administration & Probate Court' started by smc635, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi Everyone, My mother passed away in 2014 and it was a mess. I could go into it all but do not think it is relevant to my current issue. My mother was diagnosed as mentally ill and coerced into creating a will that put 40% of my inheritance into a trust and 60% was given to me as cash. I am confirmed as medically disabled after having suffered my second stroke shortly before my mother's passing as a result of a neurological disease I have. This is all documented and working is not really an option right now for several documented medical reasons. The trust was established for me to purchase real estate, pay my medical expenses, or pay for ongoing education. 3 years ago I asked the trustee if I could purchase a small condo in my now home state of Florida. He flatly denied this request. I am revisiting it now and he again is denying my request to purchase real estate. His argument is that the trust is only to be used after I spend all of my money. This is nonsense. Even if I were to buy a condo after I ran out of money, I could not pay taxes or condo fees or taxes and would most likely lose it in foreclosure. So again the bottom line is the trustee is refusing to honor the will for specious reasons and the estate attorney is of no help with. He keeps referring me back to the trustee. Do I have any options here? And what are they?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    One would have to read the trust document to answer your questions. Have you read it? Is the trustee allowed to do what he's doing?
     
  3. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, I have read it. I have also had three attorneys I was hoping to hire read it and all agreed with the interpretation I discussed above. One did tell me that no matter what I do with my own estate, my sister inherits the trust if I pass as I currently have no wife or children, which explains a few things. I cannot imagine the trustee can do this but I am trying to figure out how to legally enforce it without spending too much money I need for my own healthcare.

    So there is no recourse if he just ignores the will? There must be something.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    If the trust gives the trustee discretion in distributing the funds (as it normally would), then you're probably out of luck.
     
  5. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Which interpretation is that? Yours or the trustee's?

    You were smart enough to talk to three attorneys. Do you really think this is something you are going to be able to do on the cheap?

    Are you implying that there is some conflict of interest?
     
  6. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, absolutely. My sister is functionally broke because her husband stopped working ten years ago while they continue to live like kings. They are panic selling some of their assets now.

    None of this applies to me. The trustee freely admits the purpose of the trust is to provide housing for me. He states he will deny any attempt to use the trust for this purpose until I run out of money. At which point, I will not be able to have any home due to the condo fees and taxes associated with it.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What does the WILL have to do with anything at this point? The TRUST is the thing you are concerned with.
     
  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I believe that you do not understand the role and fiduciary responsibilities of the trustee. It sounds like the trust doesn't just say that you get something because you want it. Frankly, that would negate the intent of the trust in the first place.

    I suspect that the trust was put in place because it was believed that you couldn't be trusted with the money in one lump sum. Because of this, another person was put in place to supervise how the money is spent and that person is REQUIRED to use sound judgement in his decision making process. If the trustee feels that your desire to purchase a <thing> does not make fiscal sense, then the trustee is REQUIRED to deny your request.
     
  9. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    How much is in the trust? How much is the condo?
     
  10. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Much as you have ignored the questions in # 5.
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Well, I don't have the trust and you do, so I guess I have to take your word for it, especially considering how adamant you are that you are right.

    You need an attorney, not an internet forum. Best of luck to you.
     
  12. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The trust is enough to pay cash for a small condo in my area. About $200k.
     
  13. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I answered all of them but in three separate posts as post 5 came in while I was responding to a different comment.
     
  14. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Who is the trustee? Not a name, but a relationship to you.
     
  15. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What this tells me is that, even if he bought a condo now, you would run out of money to pay taxes and condo fees at some point. Buying a condo is probably not a fiscally sound thing to do.
     
    justblue likes this.
  16. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The trustee is an accountant who was a neighbor of my family growing up. And who did my family's taxes for several years. He has failed to provide me with any tax filings or statements for the trust, which are both required.
     
  17. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Many will consider this a duplicate post but I let the first one get too far in the weeds. I have learned a little since then after consulting with an attorney. The facts: My mother passed away in March 2014. She had a will that created a trust. IN that will 40% of my portion of the estate was to go to set up a trust for the purpose of the purchase of real estate, healthcare, and ongoing education and 60% was given to me in cash. The estate ended up being $500k so the trust at that time was $200k. It has since appreciated to $250k, I moved from Maryland to Miami shortly after my mother's passing. I began asking the trustee to release the trust to purchase a small condo here in July 2017. He flatly denied the request. My primary goal of this is to stop depleting the cash I did receive ($300k) by paying rent in an expensive city

    The ultimate complication here is that I was diagnosed with an extremely significant neurological disease in 2010. After 2 strokes and other conditions, my doctors have strongly recommended I do not go back to work for health reasons. My healthcare expenses are currently about $1,500 a month and that covers the absolute minimum of my care. I have consulted with a disability attorney and unfortunately, I do not qualify as the application must be filed within 5 years of my last full time job. My assets also disqualify me for supplemental income from the social security administration. My illness, Parkinson's disease is a recognized disability by the Social Security Administration.

    Back to the trust. I hired an attorney to negotiate with the trustee since the trustee is ignoring the trust. The attorney sent a letter and made a few phone calls to the trustee, The trustee is again flatly denying my request and the attorney is telling me that he cannot get the trustee to change his mind. The trustee is saying things like buying a condo in Florida is too dangerous because my friend bought one and lost a lot of money. The trustee also continues to mention a business I bought in 2012 (a juice bar franchise) that failed in 2015 as justification. I bought this franchise after being unemployed for over a year after sending out 600 resumes. I admit I could have done better research regarding it's viability but it was a franchise location of a to then 20 year successful franchise and I was misled as to it's actual income.

    The attorney now says suing the trustee is my only option and wants an additional $2,100 retainer to investigate the case law and see if there is any chance of success. I have given him $1,400 for four hours to research and negotiate to date. If it does go to court, the attorney is telling me the additional retainer will be $5,400 for a total of $7,500 and it will take 6 to 9 months to get through the courts and will be most likely resolved by summary judgment.

    So finally my question......if it does get to court and the trustee continues to deny and contest my wish to purchase a condo, what are the odds the court will remove him or force him to release the trust? are they 1 in10, 1 in 100, 0 or is this possible? I still have about $200k of my cash left so could pay the taxes and condo fees for a decade of I were not paying rent until my health is in a place where I can work again. I have no money coming in now and that is why there is a sense of urgency. IN the last three years, I have paid cash for $114,000 worth of housing and healthcare expenses that were to be covered by the trust. I am 50 and did have some of my own money saved and that is why the numbers may not appear to add up. The condo I want to buywill cost about $200k with HOA fees usually about $500 a month and taxes another $300.
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No attorney can do anything more than aggressively advocate for you.

    In some cases, what a client desires can't be achieved.

    I can't recall I've advised potential clients as to just that, and many refused to accept my warning.

    Some of those people hired an attorney that thought what the client desired was achievable, only to discover that it couldn't be awarded.

    The law isn't a science.

    The law, much like medicine, isn't a pure science; as in chemistry for example.

    If a real, live, breathing, licensed attorney is unable to help you, internet strangers will be of no use to you.
     
  19. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No one possesses the ability to prognosticate the outcome of ANY legal proceeding.

    As some might say, "you pays your money and takes your chances".
     
  20. smc635

    smc635 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    With regards to this. The process has not been completed. All the attorney has done to date is have 3 phone calls with the trustee. The next step is to go to court. If the people reading this have argued 100 such cases and lost them all, I would rather know that now than later. If a trustee can just ignore a trust document, why have a trust, or the option to go to court?
     

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