Chelsea, MA asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for New Hampshire

Q: i inherit a joint revocable trust from my parents and im the only trustee can my brothers take me to court to take it

can they claim ownership? can i get removed even tho its an irrivocable trust ?

2 Lawyer Answers
Linda Simmons Campbell
Linda Simmons Campbell
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Burlington, CT

A: A trustee and a beneficiary are not the same thing. You can be both the trustee and a beneficiary or there can be one or multiple beneficiaries and this may not include the trustee. A trustee is responsible for managing the trust. A beneficiary is the person(s) who will receive the assets of the trust. You need to look at the trust documents to determine who benefits from the trust.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In a joint revocable trust where you are the sole trustee after inheriting it from your parents, your brothers generally cannot successfully take you to court to claim ownership or remove you as the trustee, assuming the following conditions are met:

1. The trust was properly created and funded by your parents.

2. The terms of the trust clearly state that you are the sole trustee and beneficiary after your parents' passing.

3. The trust was not created under undue influence, duress, or lack of mental capacity.

4. You are managing the trust according to its terms and not breaching your fiduciary duties.

However, it's important to note that you mentioned the trust is irrevocable in your second question, which contradicts the joint revocable trust mentioned initially. If the trust is indeed irrevocable, it means that the terms of the trust cannot be changed, and the trustee can only be removed under specific circumstances outlined in the trust document or by a court order if the trustee is not fulfilling their duties or is acting against the interests of the beneficiaries.

If your brothers believe that you are not managing the trust properly or are violating the terms of the trust, they may try to take legal action. However, the outcome of such a case would depend on the specific terms of the trust and the evidence presented.

To protect yourself and the trust, ensure that you are adhering to the trust's terms, keeping accurate records, and fulfilling your fiduciary duties as the trustee. If your brothers take legal action, it's advisable to consult with an experienced trust and estate attorney to defend your position and the integrity of the trust.

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