Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

My husband has recently became the trustee of his deceased parents estate which consists of the family home. My husband has four living siblings. The will clearly states that the family home may be sold and the proceeds be distributed equally among the living siblings and the children of the deceased siblings. What efforts must my husband make to contact the children of the deceased siblings? The proceeds from the sale of the family home will be placed in a trust account at the bank. The funds will be distributed from the trust account. In the event my husband has difficulty contacting the children of his deceased siblings, how long must their share of the money remain in the trust account before it can be distributed to the remaining heirs?

Asked on 6/24/13, 8:09 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

John Palley Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.

Your husband should take reasonable efforts to locate them. Check the internet and maybe even hire an heir finder. If he can't find them the money would NOT go to the remaining heirs. Rather it would go to the state of California to be held for them. I encourage you to find a trust administration attorney to help make your husband and make sure he fulfills his fiduciary duty.

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Answered on 6/24/13, 8:20 am

Scott Jordan Dunning Law Firm

Mr. Palley is correct. Your husband must make a diligent effort to find the heirs and to send them notice of the potential inheritance. An attorney knowledgeable in trust administration would be a wise choice to ensure your husband does not make mistakes and become personally liable to potential heirs.

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Answered on 6/24/13, 8:58 am
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

You talk about the will, but you also mention a trust. If the property is in the trust, then the will is irrelevant with respect to issues about the property.

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Answered on 6/24/13, 12:42 pm
William Christian Rodi Pollock

Your husband really needs to engage capable counsel to advise him. He is a fiduciary and thus has liability to each beneficairy for actions and decisions. This is like pinning a target to his back. It is not terribly difficult to do what is required, but he needs guaidane as to what to do and when. Clearly the beneficiaries are entitled to notice and copies of the relevant documents. Lapsed gifts go the the state unless the instrument provides otherwise. Keep in mind the cost of counsel is borne by the trust This gratuitous response does not create an attorney client relationship. The advice provided herein is generic, may not apply to your circumstances and is not to be relied upon in your actions. An attorney client relationship is created only upon execution of an engagement letter hiring me or my firm.

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Answered on 7/03/13, 3:17 pm

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