Cape Coral, FL asked in Estate Planning for New York

Q: When does a testamentary trust terminate?

A friend passed away leaving his house to his son in a testamentary trust. The Will reads: “The trust shall terminate upon my son attaining the age of 40”. His son is 52 so the Executrix/Trustee is transferring the property over to him. She refuses however to transfer the life insurance proceeds for which she is the designated beneficiary “in trust”. She says that the trust terminated when the son reached age 40 and claims that the proceeds are hers. She is the second wife and has both roles, i.e., Executrix and Trustee. Wouldn’t the trust terminate or expire only once the assets have all been paid to the beneficiary of the trust? How can she manage to keep the money if it is paid “in trust” ?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Based on your post, only the house is in trust. A designated beneficiary keeps the proceeds. If the designation is her alone and not her as trustee, she is doing the right thing.

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

A: This involves proper interpretation of the testamentary trust provisions of the will. You should have a trusts and estates administration attorney in your area review the will.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.