Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Arizona

I inherited 40% of my mother's trust estate and she made me co- trustee along with my sister. I am having problems settling the estate because of my sister's refusal to come to any agreement. First, of all, she is bi-polar with paranoid tendencies and is extremely hard to deal with. Additionally, part of the estate is in Tennessee and I live in Tucson, Arizona. I am thinking of giving or selling all or part of my 40 % ownership of the property in TN to my husband. Can I legally do that? And would he then have access to the property so that we can be assured that the house is fixed up and sold as soon as possible?

Thank you so much,

Sheila Randolph

Asked on 6/12/10, 7:02 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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

Dear Mrs. Randolph,

Since you are co-trustee, you have a fiduciary duty to act responsibly and carry out the duties of trustee under the trust agreement. If your sister is acting irresponsibly and won't make necessary decisions, then you should act to have her removed as co-trustee so that you can take the action needed to carry out the terms of the trust agreement, including holding, managing and selling the property. If the real property is in TN, then you would have legal authority to deal with the property there. The question that comes to mind is, where is the situs of the trust, what state's law is controlling and where should you go to court to have your sister removed as co-trustee?

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Answered on 6/13/10, 12:38 pm

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