Legal Question in Administrative Law in Pennsylvania

can my sibling force me out of my fathers trust he has past and my older brother is the trustee and he is a control freak

Asked on 2/07/13, 11:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

I don't know what you mean by "forcing" you out of a trust. That is not possible if you are a beneficiary and the settlor/grantor (your father) is dead and the trustee is acting within the scope of his duties.

First, you need to see a copy of the trust instrument. If properly drafted, then most trusts allow a beneficiary to see a copy of the trust. If you don't have it, get it. If you have it, what does the trust say about the disbursement of assets? If you don't know then find an estate and trust lawyer in the county/state where the trust was created. Most trusts have a clause, usually towards the end, but could be located anywhere else in the document, stating what law will govern interpretation of the trust. That is where you need to find a lawyer. Have the lawyer review the entire trust document.

Regardless of whether your brother is a control freak, the operative issue will be the trust language and what your father intended. If the trust says "the trustee SHALL ..." that means the trustee has to do it and follow whatever the trust says. If the trust says "the trustee MAY ..." do something, that means the trustee has discretion to do or not do whatever is in the trust. Some trusts give the trustee lots of discretion, some may not.

The difference is that if the trustee has discretion, he can either pay out benefits or not. If the trustee must do it and does not, then you as a beneficiary have a right to seek his removal.

So get the entire trust reviewed by an attorney and tell the attorney what is going on so he/she can determine if (a) the trustee is abiding by the terms of the trust; and (b) if not, can seek his removal or compel his compliance.

And, this is not an administrative law issue. Administrative law pertains to federal, state or local governments and their rule making-authority. You need a probate, estates and trusts attorney.

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Answered on 2/11/13, 11:23 pm

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