Q: If I am a co-trustee and on title, can I be denied access to inspect property that is occupied by the other co-trustee?
My mother passed away and made her partner of 15 years and me, co-trustees. Her partner is allowed to occupy the house for 5 years, then the home and most of the contents pass to me. Her partner has not allowed me to visit the property and refuses to communicate about the actual maintenance of the house. He specifically excludes me, likely do to bitterness over not inheriting the house. I would like to see the "asset" for myself and take belongings I am entitled to in the trust. Do I need a court order, a real estate attorney, a trust litigator? Or can I just give 24 hour notice and show up with the sheriff?
A: Most trusts that allow a right of occupancy for a period of years will specify in great detail exactly what the respective duties, rights, and responsibilities are for both the occupant (your co-trustee) and the ultimate beneficiary (you). Typically, these rights of occupancy grant the ultimate beneficiary the right to inspect upon reasonable notice and to retrieve specified items. The trust document should also specify who pays for insurance, maintenance, taxes, etc.
You need a trust litigator to review the trust document and take the necessary steps to enforce its provisions.
Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer
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