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Trustee of trust - unknown particulars!
Old 05-06-2019, 01:48 AM   #1
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Trustee of trust - unknown particulars!

So my brother passed away this morning to cancer after a brave battle (17 month) ! Heís a lifelong bachelor and my sis is the trustee for his revocable trust. He didnít share details of his assets or bills with her and only yesterday they had the convo of cremation vs. burial and put a DNR in place as his metastatic cancer spread to his liver which was failing. My brother was not open about his finances. She and my other brother and I now must do detective work to figure out if he still has a mortgage and what expenses and liabilities he has.

Itís surprising to me that he didnít clue her in to anything really. So, the process begins to 1) write obituary 2) determine celebration of life venue and date/details (he had many, many friends) and 3) figure out his finances (he had solid pension and SS which promptly ends this month (no survivor). He did have a close girlfriend who recently moved in with him (2 or 3 mos ago). They were crazy for each other.

I donít even know who the specific heirs are to his trust since my sis hasnít specified but she and I and other brother are making joint decisions now that he is gone.

Is this common? My sis has no info on his financials and will need to go through his papers, tax returns and meet with his attorney to get more info. She will need to wait till death cert is available to access his bank account.

Luckily our other brother is an IT guy who can see what info is on computer.

Just thought Iíd post this to remind people to clue in their trustees before the time comes.

Feeling sad and surprised.
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:19 AM   #2
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My condolences on the loss of your brother. Hopefully you and your sister and other brother will work together well on this looming puzzle.

I have a letter to my sibling/trustee above my desk that describes my various accounts and how to handle my online ventures, and sibling will have my estate attorney to work with as well. I don't want to be a bother, even after I leave.

I hope you and yours will find patience and peace through the process. You are all doing a good deed.
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:03 AM   #3
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So sorry for your loss. And thanks for another "Think of your heirs!" reminder.

There will be a correct time for it later (not this week certainly!), but might your sister approach the girlfriend? GF could be aware of a few basic financial facts at a minimum to get you on the right track. Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:12 AM   #4
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Hopefully you will find a recent tax return on his computer which will help answer a lot of those questions. If you have a copy of the trust the person that wrote it up might have a few answers for you.

Sorry for your loss and I personally wouldn't talk to the GF about money. If he's left her money you'll find out soon enough. If he didn't, it could turn into an very awkward situation when that probably the thing you want. The fact he had a lawyer should help clarify a few things.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:30 AM   #5
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I'm sorry for your loss.


Unfortunately this isn't uncommon. DW's mom died 3 years ago and her sister is trustee, she hasn't shared any information at all with DW. Their dad is still living, 94, and DW hasn't been told any information whatsoever regarding his trust/will, not even where it is. Sister won't tell her and dad doesn't know or care (he's in good health, he just doesn't care). I think DW is alternate trustee, I think it's very strange that she hasn't been told a thing.


I know this is different than your situation and it has prompted DW & I to do a complete estate plan. Each of our two children get a copy of the trust/wills/health directive and POA along with a 3 page letter of information and instructions.


I've seen too many families struggle and strain relationships at difficult times. Better communication could have prevented a lot of it.


Most of all, I really hope that you and your siblings continue to get along. Communication is the key. Don't be afraid to get outside help.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:24 AM   #6
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What we've done is in the event that both DW and I were to pass at the same time, we have a letter for our trustees detailing how to contact our lawyers and accountant.

Our trust copy is with the lawyers and it lays out what to do. The accountant knows all our bank and investment information.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:12 PM   #7
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learned more today

So I learned today from my other brother that the 3 of us are beneficiaries (my sis (the trustee) my other brother and myself). I agree with you all to not disclose anything of the financial nature to his gf. They were close but she has a lot of money and owns a thriving business and only lives part time in our area. I'm guessing he either thought he would beat the cancer and had time to change things around or just wanted to leave things as they were as they were not married.

The 3 of us surviving siblings get along very well (thank the lord). The gf has asked to stay awhile in the house. I advised my other 2 sibs to not commit to anything until 1) we see what's in his bank account and what his mortgage payment still is and 2) see if his IRAs are available to us as well. His attorney was the administrator of the IRA and the attorney for his trust.

My sis (the trustee) is not too financially savvy but she has a big heart and she was very close to my brother who passed. My other brother and I are much more financially savvy.
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:33 PM   #8
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The mailbox should tell a large part given 30 to 60 days.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:06 AM   #9
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The mailbox should tell a large part given 30 to 60 days.
Unless most everything was paperless.
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:15 PM   #10
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The gf has asked to stay awhile in the house. I advised my other 2 sibs to not commit to anything until 1) we see what's in his bank account and what his mortgage payment still is and 2) see if his IRAs are available to us as well. His attorney was the administrator of the IRA and the attorney for his trust.
I'd be careful about that. She could probably stake a claim to ownership, especially if allowed to continue to stay. I don't know legally how this works, but it seems like it could happen. Maybe it'd be best to get her to sign a rental lease or something like that, even at a nominal rate, to better establish that she has no ownership.

Hopefully the attorney has a good handle of the situation and it won't be a mess. Really, it's a convenience to share info with others, and I certainly would if I had a terminal illness, but if he's left behind instructions and information that you just haven't found yet, and if the trust is solid, it's probably not so bad. Otherwise...if I were the executor I'd be asking for fees for my time and effort to track everything down.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:39 AM   #11
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Iím checking in with updates. The trust (house, bank acct, car, pourover will) was left to the 3 of us. Nothing left to gf. They dated for nearly 2 years exclusively, lived
together part time for 2-3 mos.

His gf has been a royal pain. Claims extreme grief and wants to stay in home for several months.

She doesnít want us over and is nit being cooperative even about giving us his mail.

Fyi, his checking acct was frozen since heís single and we now have to make payment arrangements with all of his creditors! Who knew that happens when single people pass even with trusts!?
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:09 AM   #12
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Tell the girlfriend that she has until the end of the month. Preferably May , but June if you're feeling generous.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:23 AM   #13
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Yeah, the GF is doing nothing to deserve a break. Give her documented notice.

Can you put in a change of address for your brothers email, so that it goes to your house instead of the one she's living in?
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:25 AM   #14
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Tell the girlfriend that she has until the end of the month. Preferably May , but June if you're feeling generous.
Exactly. Doesn't seem like you need her cooperation, rather she needs yours.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:49 AM   #15
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I’m checking in with updates. The trust (house, bank acct, car, pourover will) was left to the 3 of us. Nothing left to gf. They dated for nearly 2 years exclusively, lived
together part time for 2-3 mos.

His gf has been a royal pain. Claims extreme grief and wants to stay in home for several months.

She doesn’t want us over and is nit being cooperative even about giving us his mail.

Fyi, his checking acct was frozen since he’s single and we now have to make payment arrangements with all of his creditors! Who knew that happens when single people pass even with trusts!?
There is grief on both sides here, the royal pain and "claims extreme grief" dismissal is pretty harsh on your side.

Having said that do you know if the GF has another place to live in her name? An official other address so to speak? If she needs to find another place to live in the middle of this it's a little more complicated. Also if she has another official address you shouldn't need to worry to much about her claiming tenants rights on your DB's house. You gave your side of the short version, have you talked to her about a realistic timeline or did you want her out yesterday?

Taking the high road would be going to a lawyer and do a letter saying, it's been a hard time for everyone, as trustee I need to move on with settling this estate. I want you to have 30, 60 or whatever days to make arrangements to vacate the house and so on such and such day you rights as a guest at the house will terminate. Lawyer should know any local tenancy rules.

It's been 3 weeks or 21 days since her long term partner died, after a long illness. where she supported and loved him. Come on now, from you wrote they got involved before he got sick and she stayed with him until the very end. So you DB didn't leave her any money, so what.
Try putting yourself in her shoes for a few minutes. In your first post you say "they were crazy for each other". The GF is probably not sleeping and having a hard time every day and yet you want her to get out now.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:51 AM   #16
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I am the trustee for my brother and parents and have knowledge of/access to and control all their accounts.
Still will be checking with an elder care lawyer this year that everything is in place as to not to have to go through any probate down the line.
I would give the GF until the end of June, but go through the house for anything valuable she could take.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:00 AM   #17
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I am the trustee for my brother and parents and have knowledge of/access to and control all their accounts.
Still will be checking with an elder care lawyer this year that everything is in place as to not to have to go through any probate down the line.
I would give the GF until the end of June, but go through the house for anything valuable she could take.
What's with al the cynics here today? The woman's SO just died after a long and difficult illness where she stood by his side and you generously want to give her 30 days, only after you have swept the house for "valuables".
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:01 AM   #18
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Yeah, the GF is doing nothing to deserve a break. Give her documented notice.

Can you put in a change of address for your brothers email, so that it goes to your house instead of the one she's living in?
Only if you count standing by a SO of six months for a year and half of a difficult heartbreaking disease and then death.. and yet according to this she doesn't deserve a break.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:26 AM   #19
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I'm taking the OP's word on this. If the GF wants something she is not legally entitled to, she should be cooperative. Letting her have her way, squatting in the house indefinitely with no agreement in place is just going to lead to more problems down the line. If she wants to stay there, she should be signing an agreement, and not withholding mail that does not belong to her. If she was entitled to something, the brother should have made provisions. He didn't.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:26 AM   #20
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I am with ivinsfin on this. Cut her some Slack. Agree to letting her stay free for extended period. Let her keep valuable things.
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