California  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 4/01/12, 7:49 pm

My mother died almost 4 years ago, 8 months prior to my step father. They had a family trust set up spliting everything 3 ways amongst myself, my sister and our step brother. Both also had pour over Wills giving everything not specifically in the Trust to the Trust as beneficiary. Just before our step father's death, (20days) our step father changed his Will and gave the entire estate to our step brother. Our step brother is the Trustee of their Trust and the Executor of both Wills. Our step brother has had complete control over all assets and personal property of our mother and step father. He has failed to provide us an inventory and accounting and has freely been spending all monies. While he said that he was going to file for probate of the estate, he has only filed a Petition asking the Court to determine whether he and his wife were entitled to the money in one bank account that he and his wife opened in their own names and put the money from a sale of one of our mother and step father's houses that was owned by the Trust. There are 2 other pieces of real estate, at least $500K in investments and numerous items of personal property, as well as, we were told by our mother, life insurance proceeds, CD accounts, etc. My sister and I were wondering whether we should file for Probate of our mother's estate or are we precluded from doing so because she preceased our step father? Note: We have filed our objection to our step brother's Petition based upon undue influence and fraud.

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