Modesto, CA asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California

Q: Father has left his trust to 3 sons. Personal and commercial properties in the trust. Estate lawyer changed the prop

Properties in the name of one son, executor. Is the interest of the other brothers protected? He said he did this for tax purposes

1 Lawyer Answer
Julie King
Julie King
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: First, please know that no one has an automatic right to another person’s assets. If a parent chooses not to give money to one child or another, the parent has that right — just like you have the right to choose to whom you want to give your assets. There is no law forcing anyone to give their assets to anyone else, except the government (for taxes, fines, etc.)

Now to your question. It’s hard to tell what is happening in your father’s situation because a lawyer would need to read the trust language and the deeds to the properties to see how the ownership is vested. Normally, when real property (real estate) is placed in a trust, the property is in the name of the trust, not an individual’s name. In other words, the property is either in the trust OR in a person’s name as owner. The only way property can be in both names is if it is owned both by the father (with his half in the trust) and the child (with his half being in the child’s name.) Obviously, if the father owns 3/4 and the child owns 1/4, then the 3/4 would be in the name of the trust. I hope this helps. Again, the only way a lawyer could answer the question specifically is to read your father’s documents. Sorry about that.

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