Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Arizona

Thank you Donald Scher, for the response, I appreciate it.

It was helpful but I'm still not sure what to do. I do not want a legal battle with my brother. I don't want or need to be the personal representative of my Mother's trust, I really just want it handled fairly. I have been told by my brother and his lawyer that because my mother's house and bank account are not in the trust, it needs to go through probate and that nothing can be done until we sign the papers the lawyer sent.

If Arizona statute says there needs to be a personal representative, can I just sign the waiver of right to personal representative? (and not sign the waiver of bond or the resignation of trustee). I'm not sure what the "joinder in appointment of personal representative" is). What is the best thing to do to prevent a legal battle with my brother, but still protect my mother's estate. In the end, I don't care about getting any money if it involves an nasty legal battle, and I've heard of that happening far too often. Thank you again for any advice you can offer!

this is the original question you responded to:

My mother passed away in AZ in April. There are 4 children (beneficiaries). My oldest brother is POA. He and I are co-trustees of my Mom's trust.

I recently received a letter from a lawyer representing my brother to sign a Waiver of right to appointment as personal representative, waiver of bond, and joinder in appointment of personal representative. (He sent this to all siblings). I also received a letter of Resignation of Trustee to sign.

My concerns are that the trust be handled fairly. My brother told my sister and me that he'll make sure we don't get anything (from mom's estate), as we don't get along.

I thought a bond is like insurance to protect the beneficiaries.

I read that Arizona statutes require that a personal representative be appointed to administer probate. Do I have to sign these papers? Why would I have to resign as co-trustee?

Thank you for any advice

Asked on 8/23/13, 10:00 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Donald Scher Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.

You do not have to sign any papers nor do you have to resign as co-trustee. You should make an appearance in court (filing with the court so that you have notice of all proceedings and action before the court, and the opportunity to object or complain). Legal battles usually result when one heir is trying to cheat the other heirs, and it sounds like you are being bullied and threatened by your brother and his lawyer. You do not have to be in AZ in order to protect your interests and those of your siblings. I doubt that your brother will handle the trust or the probate honestly and fairly, and he does not seem to be concerned about the fees and costs to the estate or trust. I am sure that he will use trust money for his own purposes, and estate money as well, including the fees of the attorney that is sending you these forms to sign. As co-trustee you have the right to legal counsel paid for by the trust.

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Answered on 8/23/13, 10:53 am

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