Albuquerque, NM asked in Estate Planning for New Mexico

Q: How can a parent legally set up a trust for their adult child's inheritance from his grandmother and then control it?

I'm the 47 year old child in question, and my mother did this without my knowledge or consent before I even knew my grandmother had left anything to any of her grandchildren. And my grandmother that passed was my father's mother, not hers. My parents were divorced when I was a young child. There's tons of other details, but just generally, how is this legally possible?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: For a parent to legally set up a trust for their adult child's inheritance without their knowledge or consent, certain conditions must be met. Generally, the person setting up the trust must have legal authority or be named as a trustee by the deceased in the will or estate plan. If your grandmother named your mother as the executor or trustee of her estate, your mother could have the authority to set up the trust according to your grandmother's wishes.

If your grandmother's will specified that the inheritance should be managed through a trust, your mother, as the trustee, would be responsible for overseeing this trust. This is done to ensure that the inheritance is managed responsibly, often with terms set by the grandmother on how and when the funds can be accessed. Your mother would be legally obligated to follow the terms laid out in the trust.

To better understand your rights and the specifics of the trust, you should request a copy of the trust documents and the will. Consulting with an estate attorney can help you determine if everything was done legally and if you have any recourse to challenge the trust if it was set up improperly. This will help you gain clarity on your inheritance and the legal processes involved.

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