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.
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.