Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

I am the beneficiary of a trust account left me by my grandmother when she died. The terms of the trust say that the trust "expires" on my 20th birthday. In the meantime, my mother (trustee) has put the trust money into a 5 year CD in her name. If the trust expires on my 20th birthday, does that mean that the money automatically becomes mine unless the trust is revoked?

Asked on 11/08/13, 12:45 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

William Christian Rodi Pollock
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The answer to your question depends on the actual language of the trust instrument, if there is one. It is a little unclear what you mean when you refer to a "trust acount". Is this just a bank account using a beneficiary designation, or is the is a declaration of trust governed by a comprehensive trust instrument.

In either event, if the account becomes distributable before the end of the CD term, you may be able to withdraw the funds, but you are likely to incur the penalty. You can also expect to have some difficulty explaining this to the clerk at the bank. You also say the funds are in your mothers name. Does that mean it is in her name as trustee, or is it in her individual name. If it is only in her individual name, you may have difficulty in obtaining access to the funds.

You probably need to seek counsel if you need accurate answers based upon your circumstances.

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Answered on 11/08/13, 1:00 pm
Victor Waid Law Office of Victor Waid
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Attorney William Chrisitian has given you excellent advice. However, when you approach the bank, you will need legal identification, the account number, and any trust documents you may have showing your entitlement for their review. If you are in fact entitled to the funds, watch out for the penalty for the early withdrawal, as the penalty may be significant and cut into the principal, let alone giving up any earned interest. Lastly, you are advised to seek estate planning counsel to review the trust and certificate of deposit documentation and advise you.

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Answered on 11/08/13, 1:19 pm
Michele Cusack Pollak & Cusack
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I agree with the above, but If you get along with (and trust) your mother, you may be able to get these answers without incurring the expense of consulting a lawyer.

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Answered on 11/08/13, 1:36 pm

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