What can I do to fix the will of my father? 24 Answers as of April 30, 2013

My father died yesterday. I was there. He has multiple properties in a trust that has an appointed administrator and trustees. I do not believe I am a beneficiary listed in trust however my son, his grandson, may be and I may be as well. There are brothers and sisters of his that are also listed as trustees as well, however, the trustees, his brothers and sisters, have had no contact with him and are greedy and selfish, and they would not even know him to be dead for a great while. Should I not contact them? My son, his grandson has lived with him for the past several years. He is 11 years old now and has special needs, autism. My question is, what I may do or what either I or my son may be entitled to despite the trusts orders as my son has a great life here and tearing him from what he knows here as well as losing his grandpa would destroy him. Do I have any right to stay here with my son that has already lived here with him for so long, or does the trust order take priority and with it will my son be forced to move because of transfer of administration and management decisions of the like. This is all heartbreaking and I feel so helpless I miss my dad he was a great man. He had always meant to change the trust orders but never did due to the hassle the cost and the fact that we all thought there to be plenty of time for all of that. I need to contact family soon and do not know where to look for the will the trust and its orders or any of that. I need some guidance and some information. I do not have much money and do not know what I may be or my son entitled. There is no surviving spouse and multiple properties in different counties in the trust what can I do to preserve my dad’s hard work and accumulation of such investments despite the trust and its proceedings.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
It appears that the only thing that might be possible is if (and I stress * if*) your dad left they home where your son is living to him in trust, if you are the custodial parent, you will be able to stay with him there until he reaches the age of majority (18). But it all depends on the terms of the trust. Please see an attorney familiar with trusts and their administration to give you further guidance. If you can't afford an attorney check with your local legal aid society that will charge according to your income.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/25/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
If your father has passed away, you cannot change his will. You can only contest it if you think you have the proof necessary.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/23/2012
Martinson & Beason, PC
Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
There is nothing you can do to "fix" a will since your father is deceased. What he set up in Trust will have to govern. He most likely set up a Special Needs Trust for your son since he has Autism. But you will need to contact the Trustees and inform them of your father's death. They are in charge and will have to administer the trust. You are only entitled to receive what is stated in the trust. The trustees must use the money and assets for the purposes of the trust, which presumably is for you and your son's needs.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/21/2012
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
You need to hire an attorney ASAP or at least have a consultation to determine your rights and options. Best of luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/30/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
First, I am very sorry for your loss. What you are contemplating doing, however, is legally and morally wrong. Yes, your father could have and should have planned better and he may well have wanted to take care of your son. But he did not do this. If every situation turned on what could have and should have been done, instead of what was done, there would be complete disarray and chaos. You should notify your aunts and uncles of your father's death, and this actually should have been done, at the time of death. If your father's trust is not clear, then you should seek legal counsel to determine what your rights are. Whether or not you have the right to stay there depends on the terms of the trust, (provided the property is owned by the trust). I am sorry that is not the answer you were hoping for.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/21/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    The trust language prevails. It makes no difference if someone has or has not contact with the deceased. All must adhere to the trust.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Your question is very complex. If there is real property involved, then the value involved here is large. Get a lawyer to help you sort out your father's estate. Go to work quickly, and steal a march on the absentee trustees.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    There are some serious issues here and you need to retain counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    It is hard to comment without a copy of the Will and Trust; however, in general, the terms of the documents will control. They are taken as the expression of the decedent's intent. The documents however are only effective if they are found and enforced. If no one has a copy then they may not exist anymore. He may have revoked them by marking or destroying them. I suggest you contact his attorney and see if he has copies as well as contact your relatives and ask them.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You cannot change an estate plan that was put in writing regardless of whether you think that your father's current intent might be otherwise. The first step is to look for any will or Trust Instruments. You might find such documents in his house, in a safe deposit box, in the possession of his current or former attorney, or they might have been filed with the local court. If no such documents are found, there may be a viable argument that he physically destroyed (revoked) his estate plan. If his properties are in fact titled in a Trust, the Trust language will be given effect. If the Trust makes provision for your son staying in the homestead, he will be allowed to stay. If it does not, the decision will be up to the Trustee(s). If your father had a legal obligation to provide for your son (guardianship or custody order), your son may qualify for statutory, family support from your father's estate. Assets contained in a Trust would not be part of your father's probate estate and therefore would not be subject to a support obligation. You need to find out what property your dad owned at his death. There is nothing to be gained by failing to inform family of your father's death.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The terms of the Trust govern, Since he is deceased, the Trust cannot be modified. If it was a irrevocable Trust, it could not be changed even if he was still living.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    Your case does not have simple answer. I also believe that you do not understand the succession of trustees in the trust as you say there are multiple trustees. Oftentimes there are successive successor trustees or co-trustees listed after the first trustee. Your best solution is to take the will and trust to an attorney and have the attorney review the instruments for you so that the attorney can answer your legal questions. Without reviewing the will and trust, I do not believe any attorney would be comfortable in answering your questions.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    There is nothing you can do to change your father's will or alter the terms of the trust after his death. The administrator of the trust needs to be notified immediately and he or she may be able to begin the probate process. You need legal help with this. Check with your state's bar association and law colleges for low-cost or free assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    The first step should be to find the will or trust document to find out exactly what it says regarding you and your son. Whatever the will or trust says, you cannot change it.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    I am sorry for your loss. Please take the time to properly take care of your father's funeral and burial needs. Once you are ready, you need to contact an estate planning attorney to review the documents. It is not likely that any changes can be made since the Trust became irrevocable when your father died. But, there may be other ways to address the problems.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    There is nothing to fix. The Will and other estate plan documents that were executed are going to be the documents to follow, assuming that there are no reasons for those documents to not be valid and enforceable. The Will should be probated. The Trust should have a successor trustee named, who will then be obligated to perform their fiduciary duty to handle the trust and its assets. The Trustee should now hire an attorney to represent him or her and that attorney should assist with the administration of the Trust and the estate. You will get a notice and the right to get a copy of all the estate plan documents. You might want to retain an attorney to review those documents when you get them, or if you do not get notice within the next 60 days. You need information to know what your father actually did. What he wanted to change does not now matter. It is too late.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    The person(s) appointed trustee(s) will have to take over the trust. It sounds like you do not have a copy. Hopefully the trustee(s) have a copy. Is there an attorney for your father. Anyway, the more important concern now is your father's funeral. Who is handling this? Hopefully your father has provided for your son in his estate plan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You definitely need to engage an attorney to see to it the trustees are following the instructions given to them which they must follow.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    If the property is owned by the trust, then, the terms of the trust would dictate the terms of ownership and if you will be allowed to live in the property. This is a complex estate issue. My best advice is to obtain a lawyer in the county where the property is and the deceased died in.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    I am sorry for your loss of your father. You need to immediately obtain the services of a probate litigation lawyer to assist you, as there appears to be many issues on the horizon that will need expert guidance in the probate court as I suspect some litigation will arise as a result of the claims of different beneficiaries. Your lawyer will also need to obtain independent counsel to represent your son in this proceeding, as the court will otherwise appoint a legal counsel for your son. The reason for the above suggestion re your son, as his interests in your father's estate are different than yours.Take care of this immediately of getting yourself legal counsel. Otherwise you may be caught in some crossfire from the other relatives. One last thing, is to obtain a copy of the trust as well as the will if any, for the lawyer, and see if you can obtain the appointment as a trustee. This is urgent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. For better or for worse, the terms of the trust are controlling as to the disposition of your father's estate, unless you can prove a reason otherwise. For example, the court would not enforce a trust if you could show that it was created due to undue influence or fraud. If you or your son are named beneficiaries of the trust, then you are entitled to a copy of the trust. I suspect that copies of the trust are with your father's attorney, in the rest of his personal papers, or with the named trustees.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    I am sorry to hear of your loss. If your father had an estate plan that was valid that did not include you, then you would be entitled to nothing. If the estate plan may legally challenge then there is a possibility that you may be an intestate beneficiary. Since it does not appear that you know whether you are a beneficiary or not, you should probably advise the persons you believe to be the Trustees of your father's death and request a copy of the trust in writing, unless it is given to you based upon an oral request. Once you either receive the trust, or are denied the trust you should speak with an attorney in the State where your father died to help you determine your rights and next steps.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/21/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Who was his attorney? Whoever has the will is required by law to come forward You will probably need an attorney if you intend to contest a will and/or trust.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/21/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney