My dear mother died in 2008 in Florida. Her will – fake in my opinion, but I can’t prove it – was signed a few weeks before her death under suspicious circumstances, and created a trust.
The trust provides that her husband, my father, may use the income from her estate until his death, at which time her estate will be divided among her three children, or their heirs. Unfortunately, it also names her husband executor.
My father was independently wealthy; my guess is he was worth $15 million in 2008. He doesn’t need a house, because he lives with his new and much younger wife in her house. Our children are well aware that all of his money will go to her and her children, in Australia, and we agree that we are not making any claim.
As soon as the funeral ended, my father took all of my mother’s investments, a $1 million CD and a $300,000 mutual fund. They have disappeared. He quickly sold my mom’s Florida house and pocketed $250,000.
“‘My dad took all of my mom’s investments, a $1 million CD and a $300,000 mutual fund. He quickly sold my mother’s Florida house and pocketed $250,000. ‘”
Then he sold her Illinois home and pocketed the money – $500,000. He auctioned off her property and raised over $100,000, and took it. There’s more, but I’ll leave it. His income exceeds 2 million dollars. We don’t receive earnings, so 2008’s numbers are numbers.
Attorneys say that under Florida law, there is no need to read a will and that relatives do not need to be notified. What is missing is an annual accounting for her beneficiaries of her net worth and income distribution, but we have no way to compel, as attorneys have been harmed when represent my father.
Furthermore, the lawyer said that recovery was not possible until the husband died and his will was executed. My sister is dead and her two children will not be participating. However, my brother and I agreed that we would each give them a sixth of whatever we recovered. Can we refund ourselves first? Chances are they won’t respond. What do we do then?
Anyway, I gave up hope. My father is almost 90 and seems to have lost his cognitive abilities, but he still manipulates people. Is there a strategy that can manifest my mother’s will to the benefit of her children?
Seeking justice and lost inheritance
The first thing you should look for is an independent advisor.
There’s too much to unpack here, at least all of your feelings about your father, and your doubts about the legitimacy of your mother’s will, and the way in which her trust was established. managed or indeed mismanaged. A word of caution: Your belief that there is a false will may not come true.
The truth can be much more mundane than a deliberate search of her property outlined in your letter – an inheritance left in the hands of one person. I don’t want you to chase ghosts, and I don’t believe that chasing dragons is healthy.
Florida law provides that there is a three-month statute of limitations for contesting a will, a period that can only be extended if there is fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct. (You can read more about Florida’s statute on that deadline.) here.)
It is important to act quickly in uncertain circumstances surrounding the legality of a will or trust. You – in all likelihood – allow too much time since your mother’s death to sue now.
“‘Your belief that there is a false will may not come true. Also, you’ve left too much time since your mother passed away. ‘”
You have also gone beyond statute to test trust. There is also another statute of limitations for disputing a trust — for example, due to lack of intellectual capacity or undue influence — and filing a lawsuit for breach of the trust. Those times can run from six months to four years.
You may have better luck getting your father to secure the management of his trust, assuming you and your siblings are qualified beneficiaries. Radio silence is often not an option when managing a trust in Florida.
Under this Florida statute, the trustee should reasonably notify the beneficiaries. “When reasonably requested, the trustee will provide qualified beneficiaries with relevant information regarding the assets and liabilities of the trust and details relating to its management,” it states. clear.
“‘You may have better luck keeping your father to deal with his management of the trust, assuming you and your siblings are eligible beneficiaries.’”
Law Firm Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun process outline to compel a trustee to provide annual accounts and related details of the trustee’s assets and liabilities. The trustee is obligated to notify the beneficiaries of the existence of the trust and the identity of the settlor/settler, among other acts of transparency.
“When a trustee does not comply with the requirements of the Florida Trust Code, they may be in breach,” the law firm said. “A trustee who violates his or her obligations as a trustee may be compelled by a court to give an account and/or provide information to a qualified beneficiary.”
Your mother may have left a trust of her own to her children. It’s hard to know what she’s thinking. Perhaps she thought it best to let her husband manage her estate. Or maybe she believes he will pass it on to her children.
This has lasted for 15 years. Don’t allow it to usurp the next 15.
You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions regarding the coronavirus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.
Payment procedures Moneyist’s personal Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s toughest money problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, let me know what you’d like to know more about or consider on the latest Moneyist columns.
Moneyist regrets that he is unable to answer individual questions.
More movies by Quentin Fottrell:
• My married sister is supporting our parents’ most precious possessions on her own. How do I stop her from robbing their house?
• My mother asked my grandfather to sign a trust leaving millions of dollars for two nieces, alienating others.
• My brother’s ex-fiancée is embezzling money from their business. How do we find hidden accounts?
• ‘Grandma just passed away, leaving behind a 7-figure fortune. Needless to say, things are getting messy’
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-late-mothers-will-was-signed-under-suspicious-circumstances-my-father-ransacked-2m-from-her-estate-he-now-lives-with-his-much-younger-wife-11638914105?rss=1&siteid=rss My late mother’s will was signed under ‘questionable circumstances.’ My father raked in $2 million from her estate – he now lives with a much younger wife.