Trustees must be sure they execute their duties correctly.
Are you a trustee?
You have quite a lot of responsibility.
According a recent Leagle.com published case titled “In re Mildred M. Vail Living Trust,” you need to carefully to execute your duties.
What happens if you do not?
The cited case from California is a case in point.
Mildred Vail executed a Living Trust in 2003.
She named herself the Trustee.
Her four children were to become co-trustees upon her death, resignation or incapacity.
In 2007, Mildred revised her trust, resigned as Trustee, and made her son Steven the new Trustee.
A year earlier, Steven had led the trust in purchasing certain property.
After the death of Mildred, the siblings acted as Co-Trustees.
Michael filed a petition to remove Steven from being a Co-Trustee.
Michael has found a 2011 letter in which Mildred removed Steven from his role as Trustee and accusing him of going rogue.
In 2015, Michael filed a lawsuit against Steven alleging violations of his duties while serving as Trustee.
Steven was found to have acted in violation of his duties as a Trustee and was held financially responsible.
If you are not certain how to safely navigate your duties as an appointed fiduciary in the estate planning legal documents of another, work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Leagle.com (March 27, 2018) “In re Mildred M. Vail Living Trust”