Sharon, MA asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Massachusetts

Q: My dad left an irrev. trust&my sister & I are co-trustees. Everything's split 50/50.Is it legal for her to take things

My father passed away and left an irrevocable trust. My sister and I are co-executors and everything is divided 50/50. She has gone behind my back and taken things (of significant value). Is that legal and if not what can I do to stop her? My sister and I have been estranged for many years so there is no communication between the two of us.

If she is ordered to account for assets how do we know she is honest in reporting? Couldn't she simply leave out the assets that she took (Car, My mother's china ,TVs etc) Do I have to use the lawyer who wrote the trust or can I get my own

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

A: Your probate attorney can help you file a petition to require your sister to account for all assets or to have her removed as executor if she is engaging in malfeasance.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Woburn, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: There are 2 issues raised by your question. The first one is concerning the terms of the Irrevocable Trust- is your sibling co-Trustee and also a co-Personal Representative under a Will? A Trustee has fiduciary duties and cannot self-deal without incurring liability for misconduct which is the situation you have discussed. However, there is also a duty on your part to make sure that the estate is kept in order and not diminished without justification. Therefore you may need to pursue an Equity proceeding against your sibling to seek recovery of the loss to the estate if it is feasible.

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