Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Arizona

Conflict of interest? My mom recently passed. I am the only child. My cousin is the executor of the trust. She works in an investment office. I received $100,00 and each of my two boys got $50,00 a piece which my cousin did not want to give them. My boys and I recently received letters from my cousins attorney asking us to sign a form stating we had nothing else coming. I had to fight to get a copy of the trust and my boys still do not have a copy. My cousin is keeping all other assets which amount to over $600,000. Looking at the trust, the persons who witnessed the signing of the trust are my cousins boss and his wife who run the investment office my cousin works in. My moms investments were through this office. Is this lagitiment or is this something that can be contested in AZ.? The way my mom described the trust and the way it is playing out are two different stories.

Asked on 2/13/15, 11:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michelle Scopellite Goldstein & Scopellite, PC

Hypothetically, as I have not seen the Trust, your boys would have a right to ask for a copy of the Trust, as they are Beneficiaries of the Trust. They should also be able to request an accounting. If you have a copy of the Trust, you can read the Trust. The Trust will specify what is to be done with the property and proceeds of the grantor that were left in the Trust.

With that said, I suggest that you hire an experienced Trust attorney, who is also experienced in litigation, to look at the Trust and advise you as to what the Trust states and as to what the Trustee can or cannot do. As for conflict of interest, I don't see any. But, that is left to be said, after research is performed, and legal work is done, both that are not cheap or easy, there may be some issues to bring forward such as the mental capacity of your mother when signing the Trust and did the relative use undue influence to get your mother to sign the Trust and transfer the property into the Trust?

* A Trust is a way for a grantor to give to the Beneficiaries of their Trust what THEY feel the person(s) should receive. Not all Beneficiaries get what they want from a Trust.

As for removing the cousin as Trustee, if she is NOT abiding by the grantor's wishes, or if she is breaching her fiduciary duty, a suit can be brought to remove her.

Again, you will need to retain the services of a qualified Trust attorney who can review the Trust and research this matter and the issues further, and then, advise you as to a game plan in defending you, or your boys, if needed. Please contact our office if you need further assistance.

Goldstein & Scopellite, PC has qualified litigation attorneys, Trust lawyers and estate planning attorneys available to represent you at either one of their law offices located in Dallas, Texas and Tucson, Arizona - Please visit their websites at and for more information or to contact them. Thank you.

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Answered on 2/18/15, 10:39 pm

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