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nottrustingtrustee

Outstanding Balance of Trust

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My mother created the A...J...Rodriguez  Family trust prior to her death in July 2013. She place my step-brother as both executor of her estate and Trustee of a Special Needs Trust that was to be established with my portion (1/3 of the estate). He placed my money from the sale of her house, Life insurance, IRA and stocks into her checking account (which he was a signer) never actually creating the SNT. My mom prior to her death had been sending me $200.00 per month to help me get by, supplementing the SSD I received so I could live on my own. My stepbrother agreed to continue doing so. In  Aug 2016 he set up through B of A "Bill Payment" to have my monthly check sent to me by them instead of writing it himself as he did, up to the point of him and I having an argument over his not wanting to pay for new tires on my car out of the trust in July 2016. Flash forward to April 2019. I had not received my check by the 12th (I came between the 9th and 12th). I tried to reach him by phone on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th with no luck. On the 16th I sent him an email questioning the whereabouts of my check. He responded that day at 11:09 am saying he would be out of cell reception for another week. He stated the computer connection he was using was not secure also he did not have the ID name or PW to access the account. An attachment he included showed that the check was sent on 8 April and delivered on 11 April. Stating every month he was notified via email by B of A when it was delivered. I replied immediately telling him I did not get it.  At 11:37 he replied with a copy of the page from the B of A account showing that the check had been cashed on 11 April. I replied telling him it was not cashed by me, to contact B of A and have them start looking into this matter. Get a copy of the check and compare the signature on it to my signature on ones I did cash. I also tried calling him at that point. He did not answer. On 23 April 2019 I received a letter in the mail from the attorney that wrote the trust along with a check for what he said was the balance  of my trust and that the trust was now closed because all funds had been distributed to the beneficiaries. The letter also stated that I was to not try to contact the Trustee by phone or email at any point in the future. I do not believe the lawyer knew anything about the missing April check. I emailed the lawyer telling him I did not think the trust could be closed because there was unresolved money issues, telling him about the April check. I have not yet received a response to that email. I have not heard from the Trustee either after again trying to reach him by both email and phone calls.

So my question is. What recourse do I have? Is this trust really closed?

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4 hours ago, nottrustingtrustee said:

On 23 April 2019 I received a letter in the mail from the attorney that wrote the trust along with a check for what he said was the balance  of my trust

 

What was the amount of that check?

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Please mention what state this is in.  It seems like you would have no idea of what the balance of the trust should be if it was being stolen from you.

 

Did you ever receive an annual accounting of the expenses of the trust or what the balance of the trust account was?

 

Approximately when (what year) did he put the money (from the home sale, life insurance, IRA and stocks) into the checking account?

 

Approximately when (what year) did you discover that this had been done?

 

Did your mother have a last will and testament that was submitted to the probate court and did you receive anything from the probate proceedings?

 

If you have a copy of the A. J. Rodriguez Trust, look at the language of the trust to see if the trustee was required to purchase a trustee's bond or does the language say that the requirement for a trustee's bond is exempted?

 

The trust is technically closed, but the actions of the trustee may be considered a breach of fiduciary duty if he has not provided you with an accounting statement (for every year that the trust has been in existence) to show how the money was spent.

 

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On 4/27/2019 at 5:18 AM, knort4 said:

Please mention what state this is in.  It seems like you would have no idea of what the balance of the trust should be if it was being stolen from you.

Was written in Fresno, CA

Did you ever receive an annual accounting of the expenses of the trust or what the balance of the trust account was?

I have but some months are not accounted for, also entries listed as miscellaneous of over $150.00

Approximately when (what year) did he put the money (from the home sale, life insurance, IRA and stocks) into the checking account?

Money was put into my decesaed Mother's checking account on which he was s co-signer. 

Approximately when (what year) did you discover that this had been done?

The first accounting I received (Aug 2014) showed $8543.06 taken as payment to stepbrother and stepsister (50% each) for my mom's car which she gave me as a gift before passing. Stepsister heard her give it to me but told my step brother she never heard her say it.

Did your mother have a last will and testament that was submitted to the probate court and did you receive anything from the probate proceedings?

According to my step brother/executor/trustee there was no actual will.

If you have a copy of the A. J. Rodriguez Trust, look at the language of the trust to see if the trustee was required to purchase a trustee's bond or does the language say that the requirement for a trustee's bond is exempted?

There is nothing mentioned about a bond either way.

The trust is technically closed, but the actions of the trustee may be considered a breach of fiduciary duty if he has not provided you with an accounting statement (for every year that the trust has been in existence) to show how the money was spent.

 

 

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I'm so sorry that you have been treated so shabbily in this situation.  It really hurts when a family member steals from you.

 

Are you and your brother the only beneficiaries of the trust or are there other siblings?

 

He should have had a bank account set up just for the trust only (that is NOT your mother's checking account) so that the monies received after her death should have been put in the trust account and then distributed according to whoever the trust beneficiaries are and also . The court is going to treat him very harshly for not following the instructions of the trust by not setting up a special needs trust.

 

You need to have a consultation with a trust attorney so that he/she can help you decide what your next steps will be:  whether to file a lawsuit against him for breach of fiduciary duty or whether your attorney can negotiate a compromise with him where brother could be asked to return most of the money and distribute it correctly or if he will not do that, then he will face legal charges.  Only talk to a trust attorney who will give you a free initial consultation.

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I would be reluctant to jump to the conclusion the brother has committed malfeasance or any criminal action.  The comment that the trust was charged $8,543.06 for the cost of an automobile which the poster claims was given to him before his mother's death may explain the bulk of the alleged deficiency.  If the title did not change before his mother's death it could be considered an incomplete gift and the charge may have been proper.

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