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  1. #1
    BAturtletts Guest

    Accessing my trust fund

    My parents died when I was 7 years old in a car accident leaving me a trust fund. I am 18 years old living in California (I was born however in Oregon..and that is where our trial is taking place) and my adopted dad is taking me to court so that I can't take out my money. Are there any restrictions as to the amount of money I can take out at a time? Or does the court decide that? What would constitute me losing the case to my dad?
  2. #2
    advisor10 Guest
    11-14-2001

    DEAR BA:

    So sorry about the loss of your parents, but it's great that the trust fund was set up to provide for you.

    It's kind of hard to know how to advise you without seeing a copy of the court papers or knowing which court this is being handled in, but on a general basis:

    Trusts are set up to be confidential, so it may be a little bit difficult for you to find out information about it, but if you ask a few basic questions (which you are entitled to know), then you may get lucky enough to find out something.

    (1) Do you have an attorney representing you in this matter, or is it just a simple matter where you have to attend a court hearing to find out what is going on? If you have an attorney, you can ask him these questions, but if you don't, then you can ask your father's attorney, or the court, some basic questions, such as:

    (a) What type of trust do I have?

    (b) How much is in it and how much am I eligible to receive? You will probably be able to draw out a few hundred each month, some of which you can spend any way you want to. The exact amount was already predetermined by whoever composed the trust, but it can be subject to change. The trustee who is supervising the trust gets to approve the amount you get or can deny your request. Most often the trustee will probably deny your request, so you have to come up with good, justifiable reasons for wanting the money if you are asking for any amounts over and above what you are normally receiving on a monthly basis.

    (c) What bank is the trust fund being held at?

    I am only speculating, but are you sure your dad wants to prevent you from getting ANY money from the trust or does he want to keep you from getting any money NOW? He probably wants to make sure that you don't receive the ENTIRE AMOUNT from the trust fund now, so you won't be foolish by wasting it or spending it on things you don't need.

    You would be very wise to reassure your father and the court by saying you will be very responsible about how you spend your money, and it would be a good idea to set up an account to start saving a portion of the money you receive for your college fund, or for purchasing a home in the future or for your retirement account. Sometimes you can request to receive an increase in the amount you receive from the trust fund if you get married (and would obviously have a larger financial burden of supporting a wife), but you would need to examine the trust to see what details/conditions it mentions.

    If you know the month and year that your parents died (and the city/state where they died), you may want to do a little bit of research on your own by going to the county courthouse (of the city where they died) and looking up their probate file (the file that shows their last will & testament, if they left one). That file will contain important financial information about how their estate was handled, and it might reveal some important information that you will be interested in knowing. Since trust information is confidential, that financial information about the trust may not be
    in there, but there might be a mention of the trust and where it might be located.

    If you have any more questions about your trust, you can speak to a trust official at the bank where your trust is located, and you should also consider checking out 1-2 books about trusts from your library so you can be better informed.

    (2) Do you generally have a good relationship with your adopted dad before this court trial took place?

    (3) If you are having trouble getting access to your money, you may want to consider asking the court to have the funds transferred to the trust department of a bank in California in a city where you live.

    (4) Do you have a general idea of how you are going to spend your money? Do you have any plans of going to college?

    There is really no way for you to "lose" this case to your dad, except that if the court decided that you could not get any money now (you should try to find out what the legal age for adulthood is in California and in Oregon, as that may have an effect on when you would be legally entitled to claim full rights to your money). I am guessing that no matter what happens, you will still end up being able to get at least some money from your trust on a regular basis.

    Good luck to you!

    SINCERELY,

    [email]knort@my-deja.com[/email]
  3. #3
    advisor10 Guest
    11-14-2001

    DEAR BA:

    If you can't visit the county courthouse (where your parents died) in person, then you can either send a family member/friend to look at the file for you and tell you what is in it, or order copies of the probate file to be mailed to you.

    You should ask the clerk (by phone) how many pages are in the probate file (usually less than 25, but sometimes more than that if the estate is a complicated or detailed one), and the fee is usually somewhere between 50 cents to $1 per page. You should order a copy of every page because that will give you a complete overview of how the entire estate was handled.

    If you need me to find the address and phone number of the courthouse for you, send me an e-mail message that tells me what city they died in and I can get that information for you.

    SINCERELY,

    [email]knort@my-deja.com[/email]

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