Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

My sister was named executor of our late mother's estate in a revocable living trust. My sister, my brother, and myself are named beneficiaries in the trust with equal distribution of assets. Our sister is living in the house and has been appropriating articles for herself; yet she will not grant either of us a key to the house, although she has allowed her own personal 'friends' including her on-again off-again boyfriend to hang around. Is she entitled to do this as executor? Can we have her removed as executor, especially since she has done almost nothing to expedite the duties of executor? Thanking you for your answer in advance.

Asked on 2/04/10, 10:16 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michele Cusack Pollak & Cusack
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Yes, but you need a lawyer.

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Answered on 2/09/10, 10:39 pm
Jonathan Reich De Castro, West, Chodorow, Glickfeld & Nass, Inc.
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It sounds like your sister is not properly fulfilling her duties as trustee and/or executor. She can be forced to do so and/or removed, as well as be forced to account for anything that she has taken, but you will need to go to Court to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The above response is not intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client, fiduciary or other confidential relationship with the responder. Neither does it constitute the providing of legal advice or services or the giving of a legal opinion by the responder. Such a relationship can only be created, and legal advice and/or legal services provided, pursuant to a written agreement with the responder. Accordingly, no obligations of any kind are assumed with respect to any matter or question presented. It should also be noted that legal issues are often time sensitive and legal rights may be lost or compromised if you do not act in a timely fashion.

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Answered on 2/10/10, 8:43 am
Aaron Feldman Feldman Law Group
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There are several grounds for removing a trustee. In this case, your sister appears to be putting her own interests as beneficiary ahead of her obligations as trustee, particularly if she is living in the home rent free. Last year I had a trustee removed under similar circumstances and I have one other case currently pending with similar issues. Other grounds for removal include not accounting to beneficiaries or not complying with fiduciary obligations. I would be happy to discuss your situation more in depth.

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Answered on 2/10/10, 8:44 am

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