Q: Can my stepmom change a joint trust after my father has died to try to remove me from inheriting?
I honestly do not trust her not to try and pull something so her kids get it all so I am just curious. She doesn’t tell me anything and I have not seen any paperwork. I was just told by them years ago before my father passed away.
A: It is entirely possible. It depends on how the trust is written and whether it was made irrevocable by your father’s death. Without seeing the document, no attorney can tell you for sure.
1 user found this answer helpful
Trusts can be written many different ways, so the answer to your question depends on how your father’s trust is written. I’ll give you two examples.
(1) If your father’s trust says that, once the first person (your father or step-mother) dies, the other person gets 100% of the assets, then it would depend on who dies first. If your step-mother dies first, you’re good! If your father dies first, then your step-mother would be able to do whatever she wants with the assets.
(2) However, the trust may instead say, upon the death of the first person to pass, the trust assets are divided into two or three trusts. In that case, if your father were to die first, here is what would happen: Your father’s half of the community property and all of his separate property would go into a Decedent’s Trust, and your step-mother’s half of the community property and her separate property would go into a Survivor’s Trust. Although your step-mother is supposed to live off the assets in her Survivor’s Trust, she can take assets from the Decedent’s Trust in many situations. Once your step-mother passes, the remaining assets in each trust will be distributed to the beneficiaries of each trust.
So, a lawyer would need to read your family’s trust to know if it falls into one of these two categories or if it is a different type of trust. I hope that helps!
James Edward Berge agrees with this answer
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