Maple Grove, MN asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Minnesota

Q: Can an obvious mistake of naming a long-time estranged adopted grandchild as beneficiary to a trust be corrected?

My 79 yo father created a revocable trust in 2015, he was original trustee. Trust named his 6 children as equally-divided beneficiaries, & the "beneficiary's issue" if the child has died. My brother died March, 2019; my father died August, 2019. My brother married twice. No marriage produced biological children; 1st marriage had 1 adopted child. My brother had no contact with adopted child for 28 years prior to his death ('no contact' was mutually desired); no contact with adopted child by my father or me or my siblings for same time period. It's obvious my father's beneficiary directive is an accidental error. He had 1 child divorced, 1 separated; we understand his thinking about heirs. Trust gave very broad power to original trustee (my father); & now successor trustee who is long-time family friend. Trust language includes trustee's ability to 'interpret' the trust & fix mistakes, but did not overtly express ability to change beneficiaries. How to overcome this now-obvious mistake?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: That mistake is probably going to be difficult if not impossible to correct. This is why estate plans should be reviewed and updated periodically. The only way for any attorney to be able to provide you with definitive advice would be to review the actual wording of the trust instrument. This is not a question that can be answered in a general question and answer forum such as this.

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