Inheritance Theft Can Start Long Before The Will Is Executed
|If a loved one dies, come see The Sterling Law Group, A P.C. for a review of their Trust, Will, or intestate (dying without a Will) distribution of assets. Just because there is a Will or Trust that says what you are supposed to get, does not mean that the documents are legally valid. Estate and Inheritance Law is so complex, you can’t expect to know the things that cost you and other heirs millions of dollars.
As an example, if your father made the huge mistake of using a document preparation service and a non-lawyer prepared a Living Trust for him, it is likely that Living Trust is not valid or the preparation company or person who prepared it is liable to you for not getting what your father intended you to get.
To flesh this scenario out, let’s say that your sister, who has been looking after your dad for years, took your father to this preparation service and sat in on the meeting with the person that was to prepare the Trust and coached your father on how to distribute his estate. After the meeting The trust was prepared, the preparation company notarized the document and gave it to your father. Then your father dies and the Trust or Will gives your sister 80% of your father’s estate.
There are several crimes and torts that have just been committed that have resulted in you losing 30% of your inheritance. First, no preparation service can tell you want you need, only a lawyer can do that. To use a document preparation service, you are the one who is to tell them what you want and they are to prepare the document at your direction. They cannot answer your questions because they are not lawyers. In doing this, the document preparation service has just committed the misdemeanor of practicing law without a license, and the tort of negligence by allowing an heir to sit in on the meeting where she was to be given most of the estate.
Now let’s look at the matter of your sister bringing dad to this trust mill and being with him while he met with the preparer. In the probate code when someone takes disproportionately from an estate, and they procured the preparation of the Trust, there is an automatic presumption that her 80% was the product of undue influence. This would be true if the preparer was a lawyer or a chimpanzee.
Another big misconception is that that Trustee is the most powerful position over a Trust. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Trustee is the weakest and most vulnerable party to a Trust. A Trustee has a fiduciary duty to put the interests of the beneficiaries ahead of their own. Also, the Trustee must treat all beneficiaries equally, even if the Trustee is also a beneficiary. For a Trustee to do otherwise, it could be considered self-dealing which could result in the trustee being removed, surcharged for the losses and costs, and even disinherited.
Because each issue is unique, I invite you to come in and let us see if you can reclaim your inheritance.